Motorcycle taxis halted for social distancing

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By Arjay L. Balinbin

THE government has ordered the suspension of the operations of motorcycle taxis such as Angkas (DBDOYC, Inc.), JoyRide (We Move Things Philippines, Inc.) and Move It (We-Load Transcargo Corp.) in line with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “community quarantine” order in Metro Manila.

According to the guidelines of the Department of Transportation task group on social distancing and community quarantine, the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis is “suspended or prohibited.”

The decision is in view of Mr. Duterte’s directive placing Metro Manila under a “community quarantine” from March 15 to April 14 to contain a novel coronavirus that has killed at least eight people and sickened 90 more in the Philippines.

Angkas, JoyRide and Move It said their passenger services in Metro Manila would be suspended starting March 15.

They said the suspension notice does not cover their delivery services in Metro Manila.

“As safety has always been our top concern, we enjoin everyone to please ‘DO YOUR PART’ by cooperating with the government and strictly following guidelines in order to prevent the spread of the virus: observe social distancing, avoid unnecessary travel and going to crowded places, keep yourselves and surroundings clean and sanitized, always wash hands thoroughly, and immediately get medical attention if you have symptoms,” Move It said in a statement on Sunday.

The Transportation department has set a passenger limit for taxis and transportation network vehicle services at four, including the driver.

UV Express should not have more than six passengers including the driver.

Old and new jeepneys should not have more than one half of their regular capacity including the driver. Standing is not allowed.

Bus passengers should not be more than 25 including the driver and the conductor.

As for the rail sector, trains will be loaded at reduced capacity.

Passenger concentration in station platforms, concourses, and elevators will also be reduced.

The “one seat apart” rule should also be observed.

The Department of Health reported 34 more infections on Saturday, bringing the total to 98.

The Palace has released a memo extending class suspensions until April 15 and detailing quarantine and social distancing measures for the metro.

Under the rules, mass gatherings including movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, community assemblies and nonessential company gatherings will be banned.

The movement of people will be limited to accessing basic goods and work, while police and quarantine officers will be present at border points.