MORE PASSENGERS. More passengers get on board a Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) train after the first day of implementation of the eased physical distancing policy in public transportation on Monday (Sept. 14, 2020).  During the trip, the MRT-3 said its passengers increased from 153 to 204.  (Photo courtesy of MRT-3)

MANILA – The four rail services in Metro Manila on Monday implemented the eased physical distancing policy, increasing their passenger capacity by at least 30 percent.

In a Facebook post, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) said the reduced distance between passengers has increased its maximum capacity from 153 to 204 or 33.3 percent rise per train.

The Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), operator of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), said the new policy also increased its passenger capacity from 155 to 204 (31.61 percent).

The Philippine National Railways also recorded about 5 percent increase, depending on the specific train unit.

PNR’s DMU ROTEM trains now have a maximum passenger capacity of 164 from the previous 158 (3.80 percent increase); DMU 8000 trains at 154 from 148 (4.05 percent increase); DMU 8100 trains at 204 from 182 (10.78 percent increase); and EMU trains at 275 from 266 (3.38 percent increase).

In the eased rule, physical distancing between commuters inside public transportation would be reduced from one-meter to 0.75 meters (approximately 2.5 feet) starting Sept. 14, provided that the “No Face Mask, No Face Shield, No Entry” policy, as well as the “No Talking and No Answering Calls” would be observed inside public transport.

The distancing would then be reduced to 0.5 meters (approximately 1.8 feet) on Sept. 28 and 0.3 meters starting October 12. The said protocol is subject to change should there be any concern after the implementation, according to DOTr.

While physical distancing requirements have eased, other strict health and safety protocols in public transportation remain mandatory such as wearing of face mask, face shield, temperature check, placement of plastic barrier, regular disinfection, and in some cases, a no-talking policy.

In a virtual presser on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF will review the new policy on Tuesday in response to medical front-liners’ warning of possible future spikes of the coronavirus disease 2019 cases with this new policy. (PNA)

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