DOTr to release GCQ guidelines, backriding still not allowed

The pandemic may be far from over, but with over a month of quarantine, some areas have managed to control the spread of the virus better than others. With some parts of the country adopting a general community quarantine because of the low risk of coronavirus spread, many may be asking how these relaxed regulations will affect riding.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has recently announced that they will soon issue guidelines which will be implemented during the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

In an online briefing on Thursday, DOTr Undersecretary, Artemio Tuazon, Jr. said that the guidelines, pending the signing of President Rodrigo Duterte, will allow for the gradual reopening of public transportation in areas with low risk, and thus will be placed under GCQ. Areas under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will still be denied the operation of public transport.

Formulated by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Tuazon said the new rules require a special permit for public utility vehicles (PUV) before they can operate. Once secured, the passenger capacity for buses, jeeps, and UV Express will be reduced by 50 percent (e.g. from 22 passengers to 11) in adherence to a 1-meter physical distancing rule.

Pillion riding or backriding on a motorcycle, however, is still be prohibited, whether under ECQ or GCQ. Backriding does not comply with the government's social distancing protocols.

Taxis and transport network vehicle services (TNVS), Tuazon said, will be allowed to carry a maximum of two passengers. Unfortunately, motorcycle taxi services are still suspended. Tricycles will be allowed a maximum of one passenger.