Taxi, ride-hailing apps to resume with 'no mask, no ride' policy on May 16: LTFRB

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2020 08:23 PM | Updated as of May 11 2020 11:28 PM

Taxi, ride-hailing apps to resume with 'no mask, no ride' policy on May 16: LTFRB 1
A driver in Cagayan de Oro City installed a makeshift plastic barrier in his taxi to limit the possible spread of COVID-19 in his vehicle. Photo courtesy of Brian Salem

MANILA - Taxis and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) will be allowed to resume operations on May 16 provided that they will abide by the government's new normal rules, including a "no mask, no ride" policy, transport officials said on Monday.

Taxis and TNVS will only be allowed to cater to passengers wearing face masks, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chair Martin Delgra told the Senate Committee on Public Services.

"The primordial consideration is public health," he said.

Each taxi or TNVS will be allowed to transport a maximum of 3 passengers, with one sitting in front and the 2 others at the back seat, Transportation Undersecretary Mark Richmund de Leon said.

"'Yung mga taxi po papayagan natin sila bumiyahe provided na magkakaroon sila ng barrier katulad ng acetate o plexi glass between the driver and the passengers," he said.

(We will allow taxis to resume operations provided that they will have barriers like acetates or plexi glass between the driver and passengers.)

These public transportation providers are also "strongly encouraged" to use cashless transactions to avoid the possible transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through the passing of bills and coins between the driver and his passengers, Delgra said.

"We are not making it mandatory but we are strongly encouraging the use of electronic payment scheme... just to push cashless transactions," he said.

"Whether kukuha sila ng pasahero [sa app] o sa daan, 'yung cashless transactions pa din mangingibabaw," he said.

A 'new normal' will also be imposed for train and bus riders, officials said.

Each train coach can carry up to 50 passengers, an eighth of its original 392 capacity.

Each passenger will also be required to undergo thermal checks before entering train stations where queueing markers will be placed.

Buses and jeepneys will also have to install markers and "acetate barriers" to ensure that passengers will not squeeze into the vehicles, Delgra said.

"The barrier will reduce risk of infection," he said.

"Kung puwede, magbayad na sila bago sumakay kasi kung hindi pa, magpapasahan ng bayad sa sasakyan and that will risk the transmission ng virus," he said.

(If possible, they should also pay before boarding because if not, passing payment and change to and from the driver risks the transmission of the virus.)

"'Yung mga maliliit na bagay will actually go a long way in addressing public health," he said.

(These small things will actually go a long way in addressing public health.)

Sen. Risa Hontiveros also asked transportation officials to review the possibility of clustering industries and adjusting their work hours to ease the number of passengers during rush hour.

"Puwede mag-assign sa kanila ng different opening times para maiwasan yung rush-hour peaks," Hontiveros said.

(The government can assign different opening times to avoid rush hour peaks.)

Train systems should also extend their operation hours "to compensate" their reduced seating capacity, she said.

The enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which has suspended public transportation in the capital region since March, is expected to end on May 15, 2020 unless President Rodrigo Duterte extends it.