BEGINNING Thursday November 4, 2021, the passenger capacity for rail lines and selected public utility vehicles (PUVs) operating in Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces will increased from the current 50% to 70%.
Based on Memorandum Circular 2021-064 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on November 2, 2021, “Public Utility Buses (PUBs), Public Utility Jeepneys, and UV Express (UVEs) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces in the Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study (MMUTIS) Update and Capacity Enhancement Project (MUCEP) or the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan may operate under the approved passenger capacity as a result of the continuous decline in COVID-19 infections and government’s aggressive COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.”
On October 28, 2021, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the recommendation of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) 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.
“Pursuant to the recommendation of the DOTr, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued Resolution No. 146, series of 2021, dated October 28, 2021, granting the increase in passenger capacity starting at seventy percent (70%),” the memorandum reads.
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.
“Hindi ‘ho DOTr ang nag-require na magkaroon ng plastic barrier sa pagitan ng mga pasahero ng pampublikong sasakyan gaya ng jeepney. Ang inilabas na protocol ng DOTr noon ay ang pag-install ng plastic barrier upang ihiwalay ang drayber sa pasahero noong tayo ay nasa GCQ noong nakaraang taon,” Chairman Delgra said.
Chairman Delgra explained that with the growing demand for public transportation, there is a need to increase passenger capacity in PUVs as quarantine restrictions are beginning to ease and more businesses are reopening.
He added that 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.
“The livelihood of public transport drivers and operators was severely affected with passenger capacity in public transport maintained at 50%. Increasing passenger capacity will mean a higher revenue for the public transport sector lalo’t mas marami ng tao ang pinapayagang lumabas. Malaking tulong ito sa ating mga kababayang pasahero at mga tsuper,” Chairman Delgra added.
In the railway sector, the LRT 1, LRT-2, MRT-3, and PNR shall likewise implement the increase in passenger capacity from the current 30% to 70%. Thursday November, 4,2021 more passengers will be accommodated in the country’s rail lines per train set.
30% capacity: 337 (1G trains), 407 (2G trains), 416 (3G trains)
70% capacity: 785 (1G trains), 951 (2G trains), 972 (3G trains)
30% capacity: 488
70% capacity: 1,140
30% capacity: 372
70% capacity: 827
30% capacity: 286
70% capacity: 667
“Studies have shown that only 0.2% of traceable outbreaks in Germany were linked to transport; only 1.2% of COVID-19 clusters are linked to transport (land, air, and sea); and that there is only a 0.01% chance of contracting COVID-19 in public transportation, with the probability decreasing to 0.005% risk of infection with face covering,” Usec TJ Batan said.
Despite the ease of quarantine restrictions and the gradual increase in passenger capacity in public transport, the DOTr shall continuously enforce the strict observance of minimum health protocols.
Safety measures will still be required, including the 7 Commandments inside public transport: (1) Wearing face masks and face shields; (2) No talking and making telephone calls; (3) No eating; (4) Keeping public transport well-ventilated; (5) Conducting frequent disinfection; (6) No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside public transportation; and (7) Observing appropriate physical distancing rule.