Existing public transport supply, capacity in ECQ areas retained

EDSA

The current public transport supply and capacity in Metro Manila will be retained during the two-week re-imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to August 20.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade made the announcement, saying that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the continued operation of public transportation.

However, Tugade clarified that those Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) as identified by the IATF-EID will be accommodated by public transport services. "Restrictions will be applied on passengers. There will be stricter enforcement to ensure that only APORs are permitted to use public transport, as mandated by the IATF," Tugade was quoted as saying.

“APORs are reminded to be ready to present to transport marshals identification cards issued by the IATF or other documents or IDs as proof that they are authorized to travel,” he added.

DOTr transportation guidelines

Tugade added that they were given the authority to decide on the number of public transport vehicles to be allowed during the ECQ period as well as on the number of commuters to be allowed in public transport, the IATF may make changes.

During the ECQ, all modes of transportation (private or public, with special permit, and/or dedicated service under government initiative, etc.), shall strictly observe the prescribed physical distancing and sanitary protocols.

During the enforcement of ECQ in the National Capital Region, public utility vehicles will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, thus, again following the “one-seat-apart” setup. This time around, motorcycle taxi services and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) operations are allowed during the ECQ period.

The government encouraged the use of active transport, such as bicycles and electric scooters.

Bicycle lanes

Tricycles' passenger load will only be limited to one passenger in the side-car while other operational limitations will also be enforced as approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Local Government Units (LGU).

Further, the transportation secretary said that I-ACT enforcers and transport marshals will be enforcing stricter health protocols at transport stations and terminals, and inside public transport vehicles.  

Based on the recommendations of health experts, the seven commandments for public transport are the following:

  • Wear masks and face shields;
  • No talking and making phone calls;
  • No eating;
  • Keep public utility vehicles well-ventilated;
  • Conduct frequent disinfection;
  • No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside the public transportation; and
  • Observe appropriate physical distancing (“one-seat-apart”) rule.

DOTr Secretary Tugade

Moreover, Tugade also appealed to follow the guidelines to help curb the possible spreading of the highly-contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.

“We at the DOTr reiterate the need for us to strictly observe the necessary health and safety measures aboard public transportation. We are more adamant now, as we reinforce the government initiatives and measures to prevent the spread of the highly-transmissible Delta variant,” Tugade said.

“We therefore remind the riding public of the importance of stringently observing the Public Transport Health Protocols, based on the recommendations of health experts, to protect and uphold the overall welfare of the passengers, and other transport stakeholders,” he concluded.

Photos from Ruben D. Manahan IV, Department of Transportation

Also read:

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