DOTr retaining current public transport capacity in ECQ areas

Published August 3, 2021, 12:59 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will retain the current public transport supply and capacity in the National Capital Region (NCR) during the August 6 to August 20 enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) although they can only be used by Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs).

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade made the announcement this morning ( August 3).

The latest Omnibus Guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) allowed the continued operation of public transportation, at such capacity and supply as recommended by the DOTr, he noted.

However, public transport services will only accommodate APORs identified by the IATF-EID.

“Restrictions will be applied on passengers. There will be stricter enforcement to ensure that only APORs are permitted to use public transport,” Tugade reiterated.

APORs should present their IATF-issued identification cards or other documents and IDs as proof they are authorized to travel to transport marshals.

And while DOTr was authorized 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,” the DOTr Secretary confirmed.

During the ECQ, public transportation, and all other modes of transportation – privately-owned, with special permit, and dedicated service under government initiative, etc., shall strictly observe the prescribed physical distancing and sanitary measures at all times.

During the enforcement of the ECQ in the NCR, public utility vehicles, such as buses and jeepneys 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.

Motorcycle taxi services and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) operations are allowed during the ECQ period.

The use of active transport, such as bicycles and electric scooters, is being encouraged.

For tricycles, passenger load shall not exceed one passenger in the side-car.

Furthermore, the operations of tricycles shall be approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Local Government Units (LGUs) in compliance with the existing policies on its operational limitations.

All trains of the Philippine National Railways, LRT-1, LRT-2, and the MRT-3 will be deployed during the ECQ period.

All trains will have transport marshals to enforce health protocols and to identify APORs. Trains will also be disinfected after every loop.

Transport marshals inside the trains will also enforce health and safety protocols, which include the wearing of face shields and masks at all times; compliance to the “no talking and eating’ policy; ensuring adequate airflow and ventilation; and enforcement of social distancing, as well as proper disinfection and sanitation.

Passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board trains. Temperature checks will be done at station entrances .

As for the aviation and maritime sectors, domestic flights and sea travel in the NCR will continue during the ECQ, subject to community quarantine restrictions of the destinations.

The DOTr advises passengers to avoid inconvenience by first inquiring with their airlines or shipping lines/Ro-Ro about the status of flights/sea travels, and if they are allowed to board such flights before going to the airport or seaport.

I-ACT enforcers and transport marshals at the various transport terminals and stations shall impose stricter health protocols.

Marshals will enforce the seven commandments of public transport safety at the transport stations and terminals, and inside public transport vehicles.

These include:

1. Wear masks and face shields;

2. No talking and making phone calls;

3. No eating;

4. Keep public utility vehicles well-ventilated;

5. Conduct frequent disinfection;

6. No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside the public transportation; and

7. Observing appropriate physical distancing (“one-seat-apart”) rule.