COVID-19: DOTr suspends motorcycle taxis, defines social-distancing rules for public transport

No jeepneys, buses, taxis, or trains will be allowed to operate at full capacity
by Leandre Grecia | Mar 14, 2020
PHOTO: Elaine Lara

Commuters, drivers, and PUV operators, take note: The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has released the latest social-distancing guidelines for all modes of public transport amidst the current COVID-19 code red sublevel 2 situation in Metro Manila.

If you’ve been doing away with crowded trains, buses, or jeepneys recently and have resorted to using Angkas, JoyRide, or MoveIt, then be informed that the operations of motorcycle taxis has been temporarily suspended. Also suspended are multiple bookings for a single trip provided by transport network vehicle services (TNVS) such as GrabShare.

Here are the specific sectoral social-distancing guidelines for the road and rail sectors:

  1. For the road sector, in any public utility vehicle (PUV), passengers must maintain a distance of one seat apart from each other. For this to be possible, taxis and TNVS units may only load up to four occupants, and UV Express vehicles may have no more than six occupants at a time—both head counts include passengers and the driver.
  2. Jeepneys may not exceed half of their regular seating capacities.
  3. Public utility buses may only load up to 25 passengers, including the driver and the conductor, and no standing passengers will be allowed.
  4. Drivers and conductors of PUVs entering and exiting Metro Manila must remind passengers to present a company ID showing their place of work and a government ID showing place of residence.
  5. Trains will operate at reduced capacity—down to 25% of their respective passenger capacities, to be exact. There will be a dedicated subsection for senior citizens on each train. Passengers going into stations and trains must be regulated—personnel on the front line must wear face masks and use non-contact thermal scanners. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or with a body temperature of 38 degrees and above will be refused entry, and personnel must properly abide by the Department of Health’s (DOH) protocols in responding to such cases.
  6. The Philippine National Railway’s (PNR) Alabang to Calamba trips will be put on hold for the meantime.
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The DOTr is mandating terminal operators to forbid anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to enter terminals. It has also advised that point-to-point (P2P) buses connecting the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Clark International Airport will be allowed to operate as scheduled, but these will be subject to DOH guidelines and protocols as well as procedures of the Philippine National Police. P2P buses servicing routes solely within the capital will be allowed to operate as usual.

We’ll give you more updates once the government releases more info on this. In the meantime, you can read the DOTr’s full post here, and you can check out our recent stories on the COVID-19 situation here.

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PHOTO: Elaine Lara
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