A transport cooperative operating in Metro Manila has reported zero findings of infected passengers or drivers since the operation of their modern jeepney units in early March.
According to Taguig Transport Cooperative chairman Freddie Hernandez, they were contracted by the local government to assist in transporting medical front liners during the height of the pandemic where majority of public utility vehicles were suspended.
“I’m very happy to say that based from contact tracing reports, we have not received any cases of drivers or passengers getting infected from riding in our vehicles. Kaya nung pinili yung co-op namin para maging partner nila para sa paghatid ng mga front liners within Taguig, tinanggap ko agad kasi malaki ang tulong nito para sa mga frontliners at sa gobyerno, at para din sa mga draybers naming para kumita din sila,” Hernandez said.
The Taguig Transport Cooperative is one of the first cooperatives to have undergone the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program back in November 2017.
It currently has around 150 drivers and 88 modern units plying the main service road in Taguig under the PUVMP’s route rationalization plan.
Under the guidelines approved by Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the cooperative has complied with safety and health protocols such as the mandatory use of face masks, availability of disinfectants such as hand sanitizers and foot baths, enforced physical distancing between passengers, limited passenger capacity, and other protective measures such as vehicle barriers.
“In our vehicles, passengers are observing one-meter of physical distancing,” highlighted Hernandez.
“Our drivers have also been careful to observe personal safety precautions such as wearing of face masks and other protective gear," he added.
The cooperative has also been in coordination with the LGU of Taguig for contact tracers to ensure that passengers are strictly following guidelines when riding public transport.
Hernandez said their cooperative has been benefitted from the modernization program of the Department of Transportation.
“The bank loan programs have been helpful for the cooperative because they have extended the grace period of any amortization payments without any interest. In fact, payments have been waived for the rest of the year, and according to the banks, we will resume payments in January next year,” he said.
Aside from waived fees, Hernandez also reported their operators and drivers have benefitted from insurance benefits as result of being part of a registered cooperative.
“I have seen firsthand how the program can affect the lives of the average Filipino when they ride public transport,” said Hernandez.
“Nakita rin namin ang magandang results after undergoing modernization. Pag walang modernization or fleet consolidation, ang mga jeep ay ibebenta o itatapon lang, if halimbawa mawala ang mga operator nito. Pero, dahil may kooperatiba na at may fleet consolidation, yung jeep ko magagamit pa ng kooperatiba, at makakatulong pa magbiyahe ng mga Pilipino.”