Philippines

Reduced Physical Distancing in Mass Transport Starts Today

This implementation may not be widespread but public utility vehicles may follow the reduced physical distancing measures.

An evening situation inside a railway transit cab in Metro Manila in the Philippines during pre-pandemic. O.I. for The Subic Bay Times
The Subic Bay Times
September 14, 2020


The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has pushed the implementation of reduced physical distancing inside public mass transport vehicles or public utility vehicles (P.U.V.) on September 14, Monday. On September 11, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade announced that the country-run task force, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) had approved the proposal pushed by the Economic Development Cluster (E.D.C.) and the DOTr to increase ridership in public transportation by "optimizing" or reducing the physical distance between commuters. Transportation Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon said in a virtual press briefing, that despite the approval from the national agency on Covid-19, Mr. Tugade still wants the implementation of reduced physical distancing in a prudent and gradual way. Mr. Tuazon added the implementation may take effect on September 14, today or as of publication. The one-meter distance that was optimized to .75 meters begins today. It could be further reduced to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after at least, another two weeks. These numbers came directly from the Department of Transportation. The strict implementation of physical distancing through these meters may depend on how mass transport will arrange their distancing form within their vehicle. Mass transportations are required to modify their public utility vehicles to further strengthen the safety measures being implemented not only nationwide, but worldwide. In the iconic passenger vehicle of the Philippines, which are the Jeepneys, are required to have an effective physical distancing measure. The coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines has been fueled largely by jeepney transportation even during pre-pandemic. Dubbed as "King of the road", the jeepney's face-to-face seating configuration, makes it difficult for passengers to maintain physical distance. As long as the pandemic persists, jeepneys would be largely limited. Railway Transit in Philippine Heartland In Metro Manila, Philippine National Railways General Manager Junn Magno presented the "Adjusted Passenger Capacity of Railway Lines Based on Reduced Physical Distancing" per train set. In Light Rail Transportation (L.R.T.) One (1), from one meter physical distance, a train may only carry upto 155 passengers. 0.75 meters would allow 204 passengers, 0.50 meters at 255, while 0.30 meters with 300 total passengers. From L.R.T. Two (2) to Metro Rail Transit (M.R.T.) Three (3) to Philippine National Railways (P.N.R.), here's a table of how many passengers a train cabin would be able to carry per various meters.
Rail 1 Meter 0.75 Meters 0.50 Meters 0.35 Meters
L.R.T. 2 160 212 274 502
M.R.T. 3 153 204 255 327
P.N.R. 166 184 256 320
Passengers are still required to fill out contact tracing forms, according to Mr. Magno. At train stations, one meter physical distancing will still be strictly observed as passengers are waiting for their train. Inside trains, before and during transport, Passengers aren't allowed to take phone calls. Protective measures outside of your home Wearing of face shield, face masks, and other personal protective equipment (P.P.E.) are required and mandatory not only in mass transport but everywhere you go. The Philippines has surpassed 250,000 Covid-19 cases. Your job in helping to curb the coronavirus caseload in the country is to continue following strict safe measures provided by the National Government and by health agencies across the world such as the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.).


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