Easing of social distancing rules in public transport set on Sept.14

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2020 11:50 AM | Updated as of Sep 11 2020 01:59 PM

Commuters wear face shields as they ride the MRT-3 on August 19, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Department of Transportation said Friday social distancing rules in public transport would start to ease starting Sept. 14 after the country's coronavirus task force approved its proposal to increase ridership.

The DOTr said in a proposal to the task force that physical distancing could be adjusted to 0.75 meters from 1 meter since health protocols such as the use of face masks and face shields are already being enforced.

It can then be adjusted to 0.5 meters and later to 0.3 meters to "allow optimization of ridership," it said.

Wearing of face masks and face shields significantly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, experts earlier said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the proposal pushed by the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) and DOTr to reduce the physical distance between commuters, the agency said in an advisory.

“There is a need to safely optimize the carrying capacity of the various public transport modes as Metro Manila and its adjacent areas continue with the transition towards the “new normal” where more workers are expected to return to their re-opened work places and more businesses are expected to resume operations that were stopped during the enforcement of strict quarantine measures,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

Once implemented, the adjusted capacity of railway lines per trainset with reduced physical distancing will be as follows:

For railway lines, the expected increase in passenger capacity is supported by data based on physical simulation. Below is the “Adjusted Passenger Capacity of Railway Lines Based on Reduced Physical Distancing” per trainset:

LRT-1

  • 1-meter: 155
  • 0.75-meter: 204
  • 0.5-meter: 255
  • 0.3-meter: 300

LRT-2

  • 1-meter: 160
  • 0.75-meter: 212
  • 0.5-meter: 274
  • 0.3-meter: 502

MRT-3

  • 1-meter: 153
  • 0.75-meter: 204
  • 0.5-meter: 255
  • 0.3-meter: 286

PNR

  • 1-meter: 166
  • 0.75-meter: 184
  • 0.5-meter: 256
  • 0.3-meter: 320

Increase in passenger capacity for roll-on, roll-off passenger vehicles: [BOLD]

  • 1-meter: 50%
  • 0.75-meter: 75%
  • 0.5-meter: 85%
  • 0.3-meter: 100%

For jeepneys and buses, reducing physical distancing means standing passengers "may be accommodated," the DOTr said.

More passengers will also be allowed entry in airports and seaports, it said.

Optimizing passenger load will also mean more workers will be able to reach their offices.

Most forms of public transport were allowed to operate under general community quarantine but under reduced capacity and strict health protocols.

Metro Manila is under GCQ until Sept. 30.