Free bus rides for 'essential' workers

Photo by Macky Lim

THE Davao City Government will augment free bus rides to employees working in "essential" offices and establishments, both public and private, starting March 31, Tuesday.

City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) head Dionisio Abude said on Monday, March 30, that the free bus rides will be deployed to help employees residing in areas where there is a lack of mass transport following the implementation of a community quarantine.

"Atong tagaan og pagtubag sa mga empleyado nga muadto sa ilang tagsa-tagsang establishments nga exempted sa mga dunay closure (This is our way of helping workers of establishments which are exempted from the closure order)," Abude said in a radio interview on 87.5 FM Disaster Radio.

He said the City Government will deploy buses in five areas in the city: Toril, Calinan, Lasang, Cabantian, and Mandug.

The first trip of the buses will start at 6:30 a.m. while the last trip will be at 7 p.m.

Abude said each bus, which has a seating capacity of 50 passengers, will only cater 25 passengers, as part of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the local government's mandate to properly observe social distancing due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Employees of exempted establishments as per Executive Oder 20 -- government offices; groceries; supermarkets; wet markets or palengkes; food commissaries; food manufacturing; food delivery services; wholesale stores; convenience stores; sari-sari stores; hospitals; gas stations; business process outsourcing or call center agents; medical laboratories; pharmacies; drugstores; banks; saving and credit cooperatives; money-transfer services; other delivery services; construction hardwares; doctor's and dentist's clinics; water refilling stations; and LPG stations -- can avail of free bus rides.

He also underscored that passengers must present their ID, certificate of employment, or any proof of employment, before they will be allowed to ride the bus.

Also he said "no face mask, no entry" policy will also be strictly imposed.

Abude, meanwhile, said there is a possibility that the city would be augmenting additional buses to other areas of the city.

"Kung madugangan nato og unit, pwede siguro. Pero inkaso wala maagii kung asa sila dapit, pwede man sila mag tricycle padung sa kung asa muagi ang bus. Mangita ta og pamaagi tungod wala kita sa normal nga sitwasyon (We could add buses to some areas. If the bus does not pass by your area, you can ride a tricycle going to the nearest bus stop. The situation now is different and we have to find ways)," he said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the bus augmentation was deployed to assist workers, especially those in the health service, who are affected by some public utility jeepney drivers who are not operating in their areas and others increasing their fares.


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