The various forms of community quarantine has left Metro Manila frozen for over two months. With most transport services closed and cars being too pricey to buy on the fly, people have counted on bikes to help them move.
As bike sales spike during the COVID-19 pandemic, a price cap must be put in place, said Senator Francis Tolentino on May 29.
In a Senate hearing of the committee on sustainable development goals, Tolentino called on the Department of Trade and Industry to impose a price cap on bikes: “If we can also advise DTI, kasi mayroong abrupt rise ng prices ng bisikleta ngayon. There should be a [price] cap or freeze on bicycles kasi nag-aagawan.”
Mass transport systems such as trains, buses, and jeepneys were suspended during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). People looked to bikes during this time and many bicycle shops and stores in the Metro noticed an increase in sales over the past few weeks.
However, an increase in demand also meant an increase in price.
The trend could persist, even as the region shifts to the looser general community quarantine (GCQ).
Apart from a possible bill on bike price caps, the Senate is also discussing several bills that are pushing for environmentally sustainable transportation in a world with and without COVID-19.
Senator Pia Cayetano, for one, said key people in transportation should “seize the moment” to make biking and walking the new norm.
Tolentino previously led the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and he said its old projects promoting the use of bikes could be revisited as more people turn to biking.
According to MMDA deputy chairman Undersecretary Frisco San Juan Jr., the Metro’s bike lanes—which were put in place years ago—are still of use today. He added that there was a move to add more lanes, but it was halted because of the health crisis.
“Mayroon pa pong mga additional na we were supposed to continue pero naabutan po ng COVID. We will resume construction of these additional bike lanes po as soon as GCQ is proclaimed for NCR,” he said.
Metro Manila will be under GCQ from June 1 to June 15.
Main image from Levi State on Unsplash.