The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday said that it will implement the “one-seat apart” rule in all modes of public transportation after the government approved the new policy that will increase passenger capacity as part of efforts to reopen the economy amid the pandemic.
In a statement, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade directed DOTr attached agencies to immediately adopt the new rule to increase the present capacity in public utility vehicles (PUVs) provided that safety measures are in place.
According to Tugade, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to issue a memorandum circular explaining in detail the one-seat apart policy.
To be included in the circular is the use of measures to ensure the safety of passengers despite the relaxed physical distancing rule such as the use of plastic barriers to separate passengers or UV lights for disinfection inside public transport.
Aside from road transport, the DOTr chief likewise ordered the rail sector to increase passenger capacity from 30 percent to 50 percent.
The maritime and aviation sectors were also directed to allow more Roll-on Roll-off (RO-RO) operations and additional flights to cater to more passengers.
The eased public transport rule was announced by presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday which he said was approved and “unanimously agreed” during a Cabinet meeting presided over by President Duterte on Monday night.
The new distance rule in PUVs aims to accommodate more passengers as many workers continue to return to their workplaces with the reopening of the economy.
The DOTr proposed last month to gradually ease physical distancing measures between commuters in public transportation to 0.75 meters from the at least one meter distance recommended by the World Health Organization to curb the spread of the coronavirus.