With the community quarantine still imposed in Metro Manila, jeepneys are still not able to operate and traverse their regular routes. They, along with other transportation services, have been prohibited to operate since the beginning of March to help flatten the curve and reduce infection risk among commuters.
But as the Metro eased into the general community quarantine (GCQ) early in June, some forms of public transportation such as the MRT, LRT, and ride-hailing apps have now been allowed to resume operations. Jeepneys, however, are still banned from operating as authorities fear that physical distancing might not be properly observed in this type of transportation service. (Read: Here’s How You Can Help Jeepney Drivers Affected by the Lockdown)
This is why drivers are already looking for alternative sources of income to support their families. Some have resorted to asking for donations and alms on the streets, while some have delved into other sidelines. Now, the government wants to assist these drivers and help them earn for their families by hiring them as delivery service vehicles. (Read: Dingdong Dantes Launches Delivery App to Hire Laid-Off Showbiz Workers)
Similar to what apps such as Grab and Angkas are doing, the government is looking into hiring jeepney drivers to provide delivery services to the public who need it. In fact, the local government unit of Quezon City has already partnered with the delivery service app LalaMove to hire jeepney drivers in the city who were displaced due to the quarantine.
The service, called LalaJeep, will be able to deliver heavy goods that their usual motorcycles cannot carry. “This program is a welcome initiative because we will be able to help jeepney drivers affected by the community quarantine,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said about the partnership. (Read: Gubat QC Hires Tricycle Drivers To Deliver Food Amid Quarantine)
Quezon City’s Small Business and Cooperatives Development Promotions Office head Mona Yap added that this project does not only benefit the jeepney drivers but also the people who have ventured into online selling and rely heavily on delivery services.