Philippine trains increase passenger capacity to 30 percent amid pandemic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2020 08:01 AM | Updated as of Oct 19 2020 08:38 AM

Commuters wear face shields as they take the MRT-3 on August 19, 2020 amid the return of Metro Manila under general community quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Train lines in Metro Manila on Monday increased their capacity to 30 percent from the current 13 to 18 percent to ferry more passengers as public transport remains limited amid the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said.

Government earlier allowed a one-seat apart policy on public vehicles as companies said they can't afford shuttle services for their workers.

Some 372 MRT-3 passengers are allowed per trainset, almost double its previous capacity, said director for operations Michael Capati.

Passengers are urged to continue practicing the "7 commandments" of minimum health standards, such as wearing of face masks and face shields, observing physical distancing, avoiding talking on the phone and eating, Capati said.

The train line also practices regular disinfection, ensuring adequate ventilation, and barring of passengers with COVID-19 symptoms, he added.

"Ang panawagan lang namin sa aming mga pasahero is to continue supporting our health protocols including that of contact tracing habang inaayos namin ang mas mabilis na contact tracing na hindi na sila magfill up ng application form," he told ABS-CBN News.

(We call on our passengers to continue supporting our health protocols including that of contact tracing as we arrange for a faster way in which they don't have to fill up application forms.)

The MRT-3 is monitoring 2 personnel with COVID-19. Both are under isolation, Capati said.

The train line's first trip begins at 5 a.m., while the last train from North Avenue leaves at 9:11 p.m. and the last train from Taft Avenue leaves at 10:10 p.m., he added.

The Philippine National Railways also increased its capacity to 30 percent, said general manager Junn Magno.

The train operates from Malabon to Calamba from 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with an average of 56 trips daily, he said.

The number of trips is expected to increase by 30 more with the arrival of 3 new trains from Indonesia, hopefully by the end of October, Magno said.

The Philippines as of Sunday reported 356,618 cases of COVID-19, with 310,158 recoveries and 6,652 deaths.

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