No changes in public transport under MECQ

August 21, 2021 Jun I. Legaspi 554 views

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) said there will be no changes in the supply and capacity of public transportation as the National Capital Region (NCR), Laguna, and Bataan downgrade from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the less restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 21 to August 31.

With the continued spread of the COVID-19 and the threat posed by new variants, DOTr Secretary Art Tugade reminded commuters and transport workers to observe strict health and safety measures. He stressed anew that only Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) as identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will be allowed to use public transport services.

“As the threat of COVID-19 and Delta variant cases soar, the public should remain vigilant, especially in using public transport. Just like during the ECQ period, there will be stricter enforcement of safety measures to ensure that only APORs are permitted to use public transport, as mandated by the IATF,” Sec. Tugade said.

With the enforcement of the MECQ in the NCR, public transportation, and all other modes of transportation – privately-owned, with special permits, and/or dedicated service under the government initiative, etc., – will still strictly observe the prescribed physical distancing and health measures at all times.

In the Road Transport Sector, public utility buses and jeepneys are allowed to operate at 50% maximum capacity on a “one-seat-apart” rule. There will be no standing passengers and only one passenger is allowed to be seated on the driver’s row.

Motorcycle taxi services and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) operations are allowed. Only one (1) passenger per tricycle is allowed, as approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Local Government Units (LGUs) in compliance with the existing policies on its operational limitations.

In the Railway Sector, operations of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 will continue during the MECQ period. Train marshals will be deployed to identify APORs and to help enforce strict health and safety protocols.

In the Aviation and Maritime Sectors, domestic flights and sea travel in the NCR will also continue during the MECQ, subject to community quarantine restrictions of the passenger’s destination.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) and transport marshals will continue to ensure that motorists will adhere to safety protocols during the implementation of the MECQ.

Tugade reminded the public and other transport stakeholders to follow the 7 Commandments for Public Transport: The wearing of masks and face shields, no talking and making phone calls, no eating, keeping public utility vehicles well-ventilated, conduct of frequent disinfection, no passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside public transport vehicles, and the observance of appropriate physical distancing rule.