Baguio bus operations unlikely with stringent restrictions

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BAGUIO CITY – Bus companies plying the different destinations in the different parts of Luzon are confronted with the difficulty of resuming their regular operations even with the go-signal of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) because of the prevailing restriction.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said that the implementation of the 50 percent limitation on the capacity of buses coupled with the imposition of the 1-meter distance among passengers will result to further losses on their part that will aggravate their financial position that might affect their future operations.

He admitted having met with bus operators servicing the different routes from the city to the different parts of Luzon where he was informed that even with the proposed reduction of the physical distancing among the passengers to 0.75 meters, the generated income will still be probably break even or just enough to sustain their operational expenses.

The local chief executive suggested that there should be a dry run in the operation of provincial buses to ascertain the possible gaps so that appropriate adjustments could be introduced to the existing LTFRB guidelines on the resumption of the provincial operations of buses.

According to him, mass public transportation is one of the heavily impacted sectors during the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown following the suspension of their operations causing heavy financial losses on the part of the companies as the same had to shoulder the salaries and wages of their regular workers and the continuous maintenance of their vehicles to ensure that they are in good running condition in preparation for their possible operation in the coming weeks.

Earlier, President Rodrigo R. Duterte over ruled the decision of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to reduce the prevailing 1-meter distance of the passengers in the mass public transportation that had been allowed to operate to 0.75 meter because of its probable effect in the spread of the virus.

The mayor stated that there are some sectors that claimed that the transmission of the virus in buses will be actually limited as passengers will still be required to wear face masks and shields aside from the fact that they will not be allowed to talk to their seatmates during the duration of the travel, thus, there will be no chance for the virus to spread in such an enclosed situation with the aforesaid set up.

He disclosed that the local government will await the decision of the DOTr and LTFRB on the possible resumption of the provincial operation of buses in Northern Luzon so that it will serve as a basis for the city to decide on whether or not to allow the entry of buses from the different places being serviced by the various bus companies.

He cited that the city will continue to consult with the different bus companies having routes in various destinations to get their insights on the feasible guidelines governing their operations during the prevalence of the community quarantine.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando Bolislis