Transport officials: Expect fewer commuters in Holy Week amid ECQ

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2021 05:04 AM | Updated as of Mar 29 2021 08:18 AM

MANILA—There won't be much demand for public transport this Holy Week, transport officials on Sunday.

Passenger capacities have been reduced and business operations have started to wind down ahead of the Holy Week break. 

This came amid the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine in the so-called NCR Plus, which sets limits on the passenger capacity per transport mode.

Passenger train capacity remained at 30 percent, which meant each train set could only board about 300 passengers at a time. 

  • LRT1: 370
  • LRT2: 274
  • MRT3: 372
  • PNR: 310

The lines will also undergo annual maintenance schedule this week, meaning there will be days that trips are suspended. Regular operations will resume on April 5. 

Meanwhile, bus augmentation will be available during the shutdown.

Stoppage of operations are as follows: 

  • LRT1 and LRT2: March 31-April 4
  • MRT3: March 30 - April 4
  • PNR: April 1 (except for Calamba to Tutuban trips); April 2-3

Passengers will have to be seated alternately on road public utility vehicles or the buses, jeepneys, UV Express, tricycles, Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), and taxis. This one-seat-apart scheme will cut PUV capacity to 50 percent.

Back riders will be allowed for private motorcycles and motorcycle taxis, provided that protocols are observed and riders are authorized persons outside residence (APORs).

All public utility vehicles are exempted from the government’s curfew of 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. to service those working at those hours.

Air passengers are expected to be fewer, too.

Only a maximum of 1,500 international passengers are allowed to enter the country daily. No such restrictions apply for outbound passengers. 

According to the Transportation Department, those flying from the NCR Plus back to their provinces are restricted; only those classified as APORs or who fall under essential travel based on IATF guidelines are permitted to fly.

“Hindi po muna sila makakalabas or makakapasok sa NCR Plus bubble during ECQ. Ipagpaliban muna nila, kung hindi naman po sila APOR.” Transport undersecretary Ochie Tuazon said.

Airlines have also cancelled several flights to Caticlan and other tourist destinations this Holy Week to avoid leisure travel, but other domestic flights will push through.

Meanwhile, only essential trips are allowed via sea travel.

“Mahigpit kasi nating ipinatutupad yung restrictions at ang pinapayagan lang yung APOR. Kami ay humihingi ng paumanhin sa ating kababayan. Ipagpapatuloy pa rin namin ang pagbabawal sa di awtorisadong bumiyahe at hindi sila papasukin sa pansasakyang-dagat lalo na ngayong ECQ.” Philippine Ports Authority official Jay Santiago said.

The NLEX and the SCTEX will remain open during ECQ, but motorists are advised to expect delays passing through because of checkpoints.

Transport officials instructed the public to follow minimum health protocols and refrain from using so-called colorum PUVs or rental vans promising a safe trip to provinces from NCR Plus.

“We are aware of this. Nanawagan dintayo sa ating mga kababayan na itong paglalagay sa ECQ ay hindi basta-basta. Kung tayo’y tatangkilik sa mga colorum, si lang natin inilalagay ang sarili natin sa kapahamakan, pati na rin ang mga kamagnak natin sa uuwian.” undersecretary for road transport Steve Pastor said.

APORs are reminded to bring valid IDs for proof of credentials.