The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing through with the implementation of reduced physical distancing inside public mass transport vehicles on September 14, Monday.
On Friday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) had approved the proposal pushed by the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) and the DOTr to increase ridership in public transportation by “optimizing” or reducing the physical distance between commuters.
“Bagamat pinayagan na ng IATF na bawasan ang physical distance between passengers to .5 meters ay minabuti pa rin po ni Secretary Tugade na i-implement ito sa isang prudent at gradual na pamamaraan,” Transportation Undersecretary Artemio 'Ochie' Tuazon said in a virtual press briefing.
“Ang mga bagong protocol na ito ay ipatutupad magmula sa September 14 o sa Lunes,” Tuazon said.
The DOTr earlier said that from the one-meter distance it will be optimized to .75 meters beginning Monday. It could be further reduced to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.
For his part, Philippine National Railways General Manager Junn Magno presented the “Adjusted Passenger Capacity of Railway Lines Based on Reduced Physical Distancing” per train set:
- 1-meter: 155
- 0.75-meter: 204
- 0.5-meter: 255
- 0.3-meter: 300
- 1-meter: 160
- 0.75-meter: 212
- 0.5-meter: 274
- 0.3-meter: 502
- 1-meter: 153
- 0.75-meter: 204
- 0.30-meter: 327
- 1-meter: 166
- 0.75-meter: 184
- 0.5-meter: 256
- 0.3-meter: 320
Magno said that passengers will still be required to fill out contact tracing forms. He added that one-meter distancing will still be observed in the platform while passengers are waiting for a train.
Passengers are still prohibited from taking calls while inside trains.
Meanwhile, for class 2 modern PUVs and public utility buses, optimizing the physical distance between passengers inside the vehicles will mean that standing passengers may be accommodated.
As for airlines and passenger ferries, optimizing the physical distance between passengers will mean more passengers being allowed to enter airports and seaports.
This will also mean an increase in the passenger load capacity on roll on-roll off passenger vessels, as follows:
- 1-meter: 50 percent
- 0.75-meter: 75 percent
- 0.5-meter: 85 percent
- 0.3-meter: 100 percent
Tuazon noted that the move was made in consultation with health experts.
Reduced physical distance will be effective provided that strict health and safety measures will be observed by commuters, according to Tuazon, citing the mandatory wearing of face masks, face shields, and barring passengers from talking or making phone calls while onboard public transport. — DVM, GMA News