More passengers to be allowed to ride MRT 3
By Mariejo S. Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2020-10-18 05:18:23

HIGHER CAPACITY Commuters on an MRT 3 train sit one-meter apart to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — The MRT 3 will increase its maximum passenger capacity from the current 13 percent to 30 percent starting on Monday to accommodate more commuters, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

With this adjustment, each train set will be able to accommodate 372 passengers per trip, from only 153 passengers since June 1.

“The increase in train capacity is a timely boost for the MRT 3, as the public demands higher number of public transportation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MRT 3 director for operations Michael Capati.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also ordered the rail sector to increase the passenger capacity of trains by up to 30 percent, or from around 20 percent to 50 percent of their original capacity, under the new policy.

In addition to increasing train capacity, Capati said they were also working to shorten the waiting time and make travel time faster for their passengers.

With the installation of new long-welded rails in all MRT 3 stations, the operating speed for the rail line is expected to gradually increase from 40 kilometers per hour this month to 50 kph next month and eventually to 60 kph in December.

The DOTr seeks to increase the capacity of public utility vehicles (PUVs) by implementing the one-seat-apart rule in mass transport.

Under Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Memorandum Circular No. 2020-061, the one-seat-apart rule must be implemented in all PUVs.

But passengers will be allowed to sit next to each other provided that a plastic barrier is installed between their seats.

The LTFRB on Friday released the updated guidelines on land-based transport as PUVs revert to the one-seat-apart rule from the one-meter physical distancing protocol that was being implemented in all public transport modes.

The new guidelines also emphasized that passengers should practice appropriate behavior inside the vehicles, such as the proper wearing of mask and face shield, and avoiding chatting or eating.

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