DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 June) – The number of bus trips to and from Davao City has decreased from 800 trips to only 200 trips daily due to the travel restrictions imposed while the city is under a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), an official of the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) said.
The city was placed under MECQ from June 5 to 20 due to a surge in the cases of COVID-19.
Aisa Usop, DCOTT manager, told a virtual press briefing on Friday that bus operators have incurred significant income losses due to the reduction in the number of daily trips.
She said the number of passengers allowed to board per trip has been decreased from 50 before the pandemic to only 25 during the pandemic to ensure compliance with the requirement of 50% passenger capacity to maintain physical distancing and prevent transmission of the infection among passengers.
Usop said the major bus companies operating in the terminal are the Bachelor Express, Yellow Bus Line, Inc., LCI Bus Line, ACF Bus Lines, Holy Infant Tours, Mindanao Star and the Davao Metro Shuttle.
Usop said prior to COVID-19 pandemic, the number of daily bus trips ranged from 800 on regular days and 1,600 on peak days, specifically during Christmas holidays and the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days,
She said daily trips reduced to around 200 trips when the city was placed MECQ starting June 5.
She said children and senior citizens are prohibited from boarding the buses.
Under MECQ, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) quarantine guidelines dated May 20, 2021, provides that any person below 18 years old, those who are over sixty-five years 65 of age, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries and offices or such other activities permitted in this Section. Local government units may relax the minimum age range down to 15 years old, depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions.
“We do not allow minors and senior citizens. Once we see them at the entrance, we screen them right away… We apologize to you but our local government is just protecting us,” she added.
Usop also coordinated with bus operators in the city to avoid picking up passengers with minors and senior citizens along the way.
“We need to discourage this. I appeal to our bus drivers to inform the passengers that they will get into trouble once they reach their destinations because these are the protocols that (are) implemented there,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)