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November 3, 2021

70 Percent Capacity In PUVs Start Tomorrow; Plastic Barriers Not Required

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) along with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the increasing of passenger capacity for rail lines and selected public utility vehicles operating in Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces from 50 to 70 percent beginning November 4, 2021.

Based on Memorandum Circular 2021-064 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last November 2, 2021, “Public Utility Buses (PUBs), Public Utility Jeepneys, and UV Express (UVEs) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces in the Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study (MMUTIS) Update and Capacity Enhancement Project (MUCEP) or the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan may operate under the approved passenger capacity as a result of the continuous decline in COVID-19 infections and government’s aggressive COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.”

Last October 28, the IATF-EID has approved the recommendation of the DOTr and LTFRB to implement the gradual increase in passenger capacity in public transportation, including road and railway systems for one month until they reach full capacity.

“Pursuant to the recommendation of the DOTr, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued Resolution No. 146, series of 2021, dated 28 October 2021, granting the increase in passenger capacity starting at seventy percent (70 percent),” the memorandum reads.

The LTFRB also clarified that plastic barriers inside public utility jeepneys are not required nationwide, provided that proper physical distancing is observed, and passengers practice health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Hindi ‘ho DOTr ang nag-require na magkaroon ng plastic barrier sa pagitan ng mga pasahero ng pampublikong sasakyan gaya ng jeepney. Ang inilabas na protocol ng DOTr noon ay ang pag-install ng plastic barrier upang ihiwalay ang drayber sa pasahero noong tayo ay nasa GCQ noong nakaraang taon,” Chairman Martin B. Delgra III said.

Chairman Delgra explained that with the growing demand for public transportation, there is a need to increase passenger capacity in PUVs as quarantine restrictions are beginning to ease and more businesses are reopening.

He added that the increase in passenger capacity will help cushion the impact of the pandemic and the recent hike in fuel prices on the livelihood of PUV drivers and operators.

“The livelihood of public transport drivers and operators was severely affected with passenger capacity in public transport maintained at 50 percent. Increasing passenger capacity will mean a higher revenue for the public transport sector lalo’t mas marami ng tao ang pinapayagang lumabas. Malaking tulong ito sa ating mga kababayang pasahero at mga tsuper,” Chairman Delgra added.

In the railway sector, the LRT 1, LRT-2, MRT-3, and PNR shall likewise implement the increase in passenger capacity from the current 30 percent to 70 percent.

Despite the ease of quarantine restrictions and the gradual increase in passenger capacity in public transport, the DOTr shall continuously enforce the strict observance of minimum health protocols, including the wearing of face shields and face masks. Talking and eating are not allowed inside public transportation.

Separately, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA announced the lifting of the Metro-wide curfew. This as mall owners seek to extend the operating hours of shopping malls to 11 PM in preparation for the Christmas season.

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