DOTr eyes partial operations for buses, trains as COVID-19 crisis persists

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 11:50 AM

People take a ride at a bus station along Buendia Avenue in Pasay City, March 13. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA- The Department of Transportation said Wednesday it is studying the partial resumption of some modes of mass public transportation even as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Buses and train lines may be soon allowed to operate anew subject to strict regulations, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said. The proposal has been submitted to the government's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 (IATF) for approval, he added.

"Kung papayagan po ng IATF, magpapartial operability tayo pero 'yung operational capacity will be abbreviated at mababawasan upang ma-maintain ang mga patakaran ng Department of Health sa social distancing," Tugade said in a virtual press briefing.

(If the IATF will allow it, we can do partial operability but the operational capacity will be abbreviated and reduced to maintain the Department of Health's guidelines on social distancing.)

If allowed to operate, Tugade said buses and train lines--namely the MRT, LRT 1 and 2, and PNR--can only ferry 30 percent of its full capacity as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.

Other policies that may be implemented include banning passengers without face masks, thermal scanning, and strict physical distancing, he said.

Discussions on mass public transportation started on Monday, Tugade said but officials have yet to reach a decision.

The government suspended mass transportation in Luzon last month as it quarantined millions of Filipinos to arrest the spread of COVID-19.