By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
While many employees began returning to work on Monday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reminded passengers that public transportation in Metro Manila will be resumed with limited capacity upon the region’s shift to general community quarantine as part of the “new normal” to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
According to the DOTr, the reduced passenger capacity will also be implemented among all the rail lines including the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 (LRT 1 and 2), Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3), and the Philippine National Railway (PNR).
“Limiting the number of passengers per train car is based on physical simulation of passengers inside the trains while maintaining the one-meter social distancing rule,” the DOTr explained in a statement on Monday.
Upon resumption of its operations, the DOTr said that LRT-1 will implement a 12 percent capacity per train set wherein only 135 will board the first generation trains (42 standing, 93 sitting); 152 for second-generation trains (40 standing, 112 sitting(; and 188 passengers for third-generation trains (48 standing, 140 sitting).
For LRT-2, the Department explained that each of its train set can only carry 10 percent of its passenger capacity when social distancing is implemented, which translates to a total of 160 passengers (48 standing, 112 sitting).
The MRT-3, meanwhile, will ferry 13 percent of its passenger capacity per train set or a total of 153 passengers which include 63 standing commuters and 90 sitting riders.
For PNR, it will transport 20 percent of its passenger capacity per train set, with its DMU Rotem trains carrying 156 passengers (84 standing, 72 sitting); while the 8000 Series will carry 143 passengers (73 standing, 70 sitting); and 198 passengers for its new trains, the 8100 Series (102 standing, 96 sitting).
Aside from trains, the Department emphasized that passenger concentration will also be reduced at station platforms, concourses, and station elevators.
It also noted that skip trains, or trains bypassing certain stations, may be dispatched to manage passenger volumes, along with a block system to control the entry of passengers into stations, platforms, and into the trains.
The DOTr’s railway sector earlier assured that it is ready to serve commuters while observing health protocols on public transport once the enhanced community quarantine was lifted in Metro Manila.
Aside from physical distancing measures, other health protocols will be implemented such as “no face mask, no ride” policy, and regular disinfection of train sets, station premises and facilities, among others.