Public transport allowed in Metro Manila during ECQ

Public transport allowed in Metro Manila during ECQ
MRT commuters line up to show their vaccination card at MRT-3 North Ave. station on Aug. 3, 2021. Vaccinated train commuters may now avail themselves of free rides in the Light Rail Transit 2, Manila Metro Rail Transit 3 and Philippine National Railways starting August 3 until the end of lockdown in Metro Manila.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the current public transport supply and capacity will be retained in Metro Manila during the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine starting Friday.

In a statement sent to reporters Tuesday, Tugade said the latest guidelines approved by the coronavirus task force allowed the continued operation of public transportation but stressed that only authorized persons outside residence or APORs will be accommodated.

"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," said Tugade, who added that all other modes of transportation shall strictly observe physical distancing and sanitary measures.

“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."

Tugade clarified, however, that although the DOTr was 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.

"Should the IATF decide otherwise, we will abide," he said.

READ: Familiar checkpoints, traffic buildup as Metro Manila preps for third ECQ

Transport sectors activated

The DOTr said that during the enforcement of the ECQ, public utility vehicles are allowed to operate at 50% capacity on a “one-seat-apart” setup. Standing passengers will not be allowed, and only one passenger will be allowed at the driver’s row.

All trains of the Philippine National Railways, LRT-1, LRT-2, and the MRT-3 will be deployed during the ECQ period. Trains will also be disinfected after every loop. 

Motorcycle taxi services and Transport Network Vehicle Service operations are also allowed during the ECQ, while the DOTr said that the use of active transport, such as bicycles and electric scooters, is "encouraged."

For tricycles, passenger load shall not exceed one passenger in the sidecar. Tricycle operations will also require approval from by the Department of Interior and Local Government and local governments in compliance with existing policies on its operational limitations.

Domestic flights and sea travel in the NCR will also continue during the ECQ, subject to quarantine restrictions of destinations. The DOTr urged passengers to first check with their airlines or shipping lines about the status of flights or sea travels.

Cooperation urged

Tugade said stricter health protocols will be also be enforced by enforcers and transport marshals at stations and terminals, and inside vehicles. Passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board trains. Temperature checks will be done at station entrances.

“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."

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