DOTr to deploy buses in EDSA as trains cut capacity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2020 03:21 AM

Kisses Abalos walks along EDSA in Mandaluyong City on her way to work in Makati City on March 28, 2020, at the time of the enhanced community quarantine imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Hundreds of buses will be deployed in EDSA to augment the limited capacity of trains in Metro Manila, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Thursday night, as the country reopens public transportation next week.

“Ikakasa ‘yong operation ng tren with bus operation following the same line para ma-achieve natin ang volume of passengers that move,” he said in a briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Some 300 to 500 buses will use the mid-lane of the Philippine capital’s major thoroughfare to ply the same route used by trains, Tugade said.

As Metro Manila shifts to general community quarantine on June 1, he said the agency is putting trains and rails in operation.

“’Pag sinabing Lunes, handa kami sa Lunes. Bagamat sasabihin kong antemano, huwag i-expect na ‘yong operations ng tren ay 100 percent,” he said.

“As I said, we have to balance our mandate to provide transportation with our responsibility in preventing the spread of the virus,” he added.

The Metro Trail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) will run at 10 to 15 percent capacity, while the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will have 35 percent capacity, Tugade said.

The transportation chief said MRT-3 trains are expected to run faster in December once its railway tracks are replaced by September.

The agency is also coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on creating permanent bicycle lanes on EDSA.

If their experiment proves successful, bicycle lanes will also be put up in other parts of the country, he said.

Tugade said they also planned introducing cashless payment systems in public transit, including to modernize jeepneys and taxi cabs, to limit the spread of the virus.

Application and issuance of driver's license and car registration will now be also conducted online, he said.

"Hindi ka na pupunta sa LTO [Land Transportation Office]. Ide-deliver na ng courier. This is one way also of making sure that the addresses doon sa mga na-issue ng lisensiya ay totoo," he added.