The passenger capacity for rail lines and selected public utility vehicles (PUVs) operating in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces will be increased from the current 50 percent to 70 percent starting November 4, following a decline in Covid-19 cases.
“Pursuant to the recommendation of the DOTr, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued Resolution No. 146, series of 2021, dated 28 October 2021, granting the increase in passenger capacity starting at seventy percent (70 percent),” Memorandum Circular 2021-064 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) read.
Last October 28, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the recommendation of the Department of Transportation and the LTFRB to implement the gradual increase in passenger capacity in public transportation, including road and railway systems for one month until they reach full capacity.
Plastic barriers not required
The LTFRB also clarified that plastic barriers inside public utility jeepneys are not required nationwide, provided that proper physical distancing is observed, and passengers practice health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“The DOTr didn’t require plastic barriers between passengers in public utility vehicles such as jeepneys. The DOTr released a protocol to install plastic barriers between drivers and passengers when we were under GCQ last year,” Delgra said in Filipino.
With the growing demand for public transportation, Delgra said there is a need to increase passenger capacity in PUVs as quarantine restrictions are beginning to ease and more businesses are reopening.
The increase in passenger capacity will help cushion the impact of the pandemic and the recent hike in fuel prices on the livelihood of PUV drivers and operators, he added.
“The livelihood of public transport drivers and operators was severely affected with passenger capacity in public transport maintained at 50 percent. Increasing passenger capacity will mean a higher revenue for the public transport sector,” he said.
In the railway sector, the LRT 1, LRT-2, MRT-3, and PNR would implement the increase in passenger capacity from the current 30 percent to 70 percent.Citing studies, DOTr Undersecretary TJ Batan said only 0.2 percent of traceable outbreaks in Germany were linked to transport; only 1.2 percent of Covid-19 clusters are linked to transport (land, air, and sea); and that there is only a 0.01 percent chance of contracting Covid-19 in public transportation, with the probability decreasing to 0.005 percent risk of infection with face covering.