DOTr reduces physical distancing markers in public transport

Maris Federez   •   September 14, 2020   •   591

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation has allowed the public transport system in the country to implement a “reduced physical distancing” policy starting Monday, September 14.

From the previous one-meter physical distancing marker between passengers, it is now at .75-meter safe distance.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the reduced physical distancing to provide service to the increasing number of passengers brought about by the reopening of more businesses.

“Ang basehan nila dito sa mga numero na binigay nila ay yung mga pag-aaral na ginawa nila sa sarili at pati narin pag-aaral na ginawa ng medical experts natin. Nakita namin na pwede naman talagang liitan yung pagitan ng mga pasahero basta nandun pa rin ang health protocols,” said DOTr Usec. Artemio Tuazon.

Effective Monday, the LRT-1 will accommodate 204 passengers from the previous 155; while the LRT-2 will accept 212 passengers from the previous 160-capacity.

The MRT-3, in the meantime, said that from 153 passengers, it will now accommodate 204 passengers per trip.

The Philippine National Railways, on the other hand, said it will increase the passenger capacity of their trains to 184 from the previous 166.

The DOTr also announced that standing will now be allowed inside modern jeepneys and passenger buses, increasing their capacity by up to three additional passengers. This increased passenger capacity is also applied in traditional jeepneys and UV express units.

Passenger ships are also allowed to increase their capacity to up to 75 percent from the earlier 50%.

Airline companies, in the meantime, will not be changing their policies on physical distancing as they are using heap filters in the aircraft ventilations ensuring a lower chance of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission.

“Sa loob naman ng eroplano dahil sa kanyang filter system halos kapareho, kalebel sya ng operation ng humidifier where every 3 minutes nagpapalit sya ng air condition at very little or hardly were it says na merong nagkaroon ng transmission sa loob ng eroplano,” said CAAP Director-General Capt. Jim Syndiongco.

In the next two weeks, the DOTr will once again reduce the physical distancing to .50 meters, and subsequently, will further reduced to .30 meters.

The department, however, ensured that with the implementation of the reduced physical distancing protocol, the minimum health standards will still prevail.

On the other hand, in the event that COVID-19 cases will once again increase, the physical distancing in the public transport system will be reverted one meter. —(with details from Joan Nano) /mbmf

DOTr suspends inauguration of LRT-2 East extension due to new COVID-19 restrictions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has suspended the inauguration of the LRT-2 East Extension Project from its original schedule on April 26 and set it to a much later date of June 23, 2021.

In a statement, the department said the adjustment is due to the new COVID-19 restrictions and to protect the health and safety of rail workers and the riding public.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan also reported that foreign rail experts who are necessary for the final stages of installation, testing, and commissioning works for the project have been unable to report for work or enter the Philippines due to stringent restrictions being enforced.

“As much as we would like to open the project earlier, kailangan pong unahin ang kalusugan at kapakanan ng ating mga rail workers at mananakay (we need to prioritize the health and well-being of our rail workers and passengers),he said.

LRT-2’s new stations, the Marikina Station and Antipolo Station will serve commuters from Recto, Manila going to Masinag, Antipolo, and back.

According to the DOTr, “the project is expected to cut travel time between Manila and Antipolo from the previous three (3) hours by bus or jeepney, to only 40 minutes.” AAC

DOTr warns vs fake Sec. Tugade Facebook account

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 16, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified in a statement on Thursday that the Facebook page/account bearing the name Sec Art Tugade does not belong to the transportation chief.

“Please be informed that Secretary Tugade *DOES NOT HAVE A PERSONAL FACEBOOK PAGE or ACCOUNT*, and is *NOT* involved in creating, managing, and handling the said page or other similar accounts,” the department stressed.

“Anything related to Secretary Tugade in his function and designation as Cabinet Secretary, and head of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is posted *ONLY* in the *OFFICIAL* DOTr social media accounts,” the DOTr added.

The agency also encouraged the public to immediately report to the DOTr any suspicious activity involving this unauthorized account, or any similar accounts for that matter. AAC

LRT-2 to shorten operating hours starting April 17

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) will temporarily shorten its operating hours due to the increasing number of LRT-2 frontline personnel infected with COVID-19, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said.

In an advisory, the LRTA said the shortened operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be implemented starting Saturday, April 17 until April 30.

“Consistent with the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), our Management opted to shorten the operating hours so as to help us prevent the further spread of the virus and avoid the possible paralysis of our operations in case the numbers continue to surge,” LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said.

Out of 1,944 total LRT-2 employees, 1,906 have been tested from April 7 to 8. Of this number, 273 individuals were found positive for coronavirus.

The LRTA said that only 56% are currently functioning among ticket management and sales collection personnel, and about 73% among train drivers. Some 68% of the station personnel are left available with the rest under quarantine due to COVID-19 infection or exposure.

“We have already isolated all the infected/exposed personnel, have implemented work-from-home arrangements for depot workers, revisited train ventilation and air-flow protocols, and ensured that all minimum public health standards are complied with at all times to avoid the further spread of the virus,” Berroya said.

He said that the reduced operating hours will allow the LRTA to still effectively manage LRT-2 operations considering the manpower deficit and allow COVID-19 afflicted employees to recover and complete their mandatory quarantine/isolation period.

The LRTA also noted that under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) being implemented until April 30, LRT-2 is expected to experience a significant decline in ridership.

“At this time of public health emergency, the welfare and safety of both our passengers and personnel must always come first,” Berroya said.

The LRTA appealed to passengers to strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols, stressing that “the road to beat the virus is a two-way street.”

Passengers are also reminded to always wear face masks and face shields, to be self-aware and socially disciplined, and to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.

Meanwhile, buses are plying Route 9 (Antipolo to Cubao) and Route 10 (Cubao to Doroteo Jose) to augment LRT-2 operations and to help accommodate affected passengers.

The normal LRT-2 operating schedule will resume on May 1, 2021, the LRTA said

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