The city government of Bacolod has commissioned the services of 42 public utility jeepneys (PUJs) that will transport healthcare workers and essential services personnel to work for free starting Monday.
All forms of public transport have been suspended in Bacolod from September 8 to 30 when the city was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to bring down the number of local cases of coronavirus disease 2019, or Covid-19.
Councilor Dindo Ramos, chairman of the City Council committee on transportation and traffic management, said the jeepneys are plying the routes assigned to them from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
This does not only provide transportation to the frontliners, but also gives drivers the opportunity to earn while public transport is not allowed, Ramos said in a radio interview.
He added that the city government has agreed to pay each jeepney P300 per trip or a total of P3,000 for all 10 trips per day.
Data provided by the city government showed that under the “Libreng Sakay” program, seven jeepney stops in seven villages have been identified, with the Bacolod City Public Plaza as the central drop-off area.
The trips start in barangays Granada, Estefania, Bata, Handumanan, Mansilingan, Banago, and Sum-ag.
Each route has been assigned six jeepneys – three for medical workers and three for essential services personnel.
There are 10 trips in each route from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with an interval of two hours between trips.
City residents going to the markets or traveling to purchase essential goods can board the jeepneys if they present a home quarantine pass.
The Bacolod Traffic Authority Office has assigned one personnel per route to assist the passengers.
During the ECQ in Bacolod from March 30 to May 15, the Vallacar Transit Inc., operator of Ceres buses, deployed its buses to transport front-liners to work for free.
This time, Ramos said the bus company can no longer provide the same assistance since it has already resumed operations.
As of Sunday, September 13, Bacolod has 2,574 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 988 recoveries, 1,551 active cases, and 35 deaths. (PNA)