The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the proposal to increase ridership in public transportation in Metro Manila by reducing the physical distance between commuters.
Adjusting the safe-distancing rule for public transport is an initiative of the Economic Development Cluster and the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
In a statement issued last Friday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the move is in line “with the transition towards the ‘new normal’ where more workers are expected to return to their reopened workplaces and more businesses are expected to resume operations that were stopped during the enforcement of strict quarantine measures.”
He said the 1-meter physical distancing protocol being enforced inside public transport units will be reduced to .75 meters starting Monday, September 14, 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.
During a recent IATF-EID meeting, the DoTr explained that with strict health protocols being enforced to contain the spread of Covid-19 such as the mandatory use of face masks and face shields, the distancing can be safely adjusted to allow for optimization of ridership.
For railway lines, the expected increase in passenger capacity is backed by data based on physical simulation.
The “Adjusted Passenger Capacity of Railway Lines Based on Reduced Physical Distancing” for the Light Rail Transit 1, or LRT 1, are: 1 meter – 155; 0.75 meter – 204; 0.5 meter – 255; and 0.3 meter – 300.
For LRT 2, the passenger capacity for the following distances are: 1 meter – 160; 0.75 meter – 212; 0.5 meter – 274; and 0.3 meter – 502.
The Metro Rail Transit 3, or MRT 3, will observe the following: 1 meter – 153; 0.75 meter – 204; 0.5 meter – 255; and 0.3 meter – 286.
For the Philippine National Railway, or PNR, these are: 1 meter – 166; 0.75 meter – 184; 0.5 meter – 256; and 0.3 meter – 320.
For class 2 modern public utility vehicles, or PUVs, and public utility buses, optimizing the physical distance between passengers will mean that standing passengers may be accommodated.
For airlines and passenger ferries, more passengers will be allowed to enter airports and seaports. The new distancing protocol for roll on-roll off passenger vessels are: 1 meter – 50 percent; 0.75 meter – 75 percent; 0.5 meter – 85 percent and 0.3 meter – 100 percent.
National Task Force Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Jr. agreed that optimizing the distancing in PUVs will enable more employees and workers to reach their workplaces despite strict quarantine measures.