MANILA, Philippines — The MRT management will limit the number of trains in operation starting July 6.
This after a number of its personnel tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the total of positive cases to 127, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) advisory said.
Initial report said the 127 cases consist of 124 Sumitomo Depot personnel and 3 MRT-3 Depot personnel who will be placed under mandatory quarantine and medication.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said that with the guidance of the IATF-EID and upon the advice of Sumitomo-MHI, MRT-3 will be able to continue operations, with the possibility of reducing capacity or with fewer trains.
“Sumitomo requested to discuss on a day-by-day basis the level of operations that they can sustain as results of the mass swab testing continue to be released. In the meantime, Sumitomo advised that they are able to continue with operations to service MRT-3’s tens of thousands of passengers, although at a reduced level,” said Usec Batan.
“While we try to do our best to keep the same maintenance performance through this week, we would like to discuss with DOTr MRT3 office day by day, how much maintenance level we would be able to keep, in view of the number of COVID-19 infected people,” said Masanori Honda of Sumitomo.
The advisory also said that “to augment MRT-3’s further reduced capacity due to the quarantine of some of its depot personnel, DOTr will be boosting its Bus Augmentation Program and EDSA Busway service, in coordination with the DOTr Road Sector, LTFRB, and MMDA.”
“Per guidance of the IATF-EID, additional measures and precautions will be taken during MRT-3’s reduced operations, including requiring full PPE for stations and depot personnel, limiting movement of depot personnel to their immediate areas of responsibility, increased disinfection activities, and heightened monitoring and screening of symptoms among all personnel,” the advisory further read.
Meanwhile, MRT reminds the public that it will suspend operation on July 4 and 5 to give way to their rail replacement activities. —(with details from Joan Nano) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – Buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express units will be allowed to ply on major roads starting June 22 on the condition of limited passenger capacity and under strict social distancing protocols.
But based on the guidelines issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), elderly drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) or senior citizens are still not allowed to go back to driving as they are part of the vulnerable sector who are prone to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.
This was what the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said in Resolution No. 28 issued on April 23 saying that the elderly or senior citizens are among the high-risk individuals.
But some drivers appealed to the government to allow them to go back to their job, especially those who are fit to drive like Alberto Manuel Jr.
Manuel said he can still drive at his age of 76 and being a jeepney driver has been his ‘bread and butter’ for almost 56 years now.
“Ang lisensya ko sa 2023 pa mag-expire. Pagdating ng 2023 ang edad ng lisensya ko 59 years na, mag-si-senior citizen na rin[ My license will expire in 2023. Come 2023, my license will be 59 years old, close to being a senior citizen as well],” Manuel said.
“Malakas pa naman ako. Malinaw pa ang mata ko [I’m still strong. My vision is still clear],” he added.
Also an elderly, Allan Ocampo has been a jeepney driver for 30 years now.
He is a member of ‘Barcads,’ a group of UV Express drivers in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Ocampo said the government should take into consideration the condition of senior citizens who are still able to drive as this is their only source of income.
“Sa akin hangga’t malakas kahit senior na [For me, (I can still work) as long as I’m strong despite being a senior citizen],” Ocampo said.
“Parang inaalisan na nila ng karapatan ang isang tao, ang isang senior na gusto pang magtrabaho [It’s like they have taken away the rights of a person, the rights of an elderly who still wants to earn a living],” added Carlito Tumbaga who is also a senior citizen.
Meanwhile, the UNTV News team has sought the LTFRB’s side on the issue but the agency has no reply as of this writing. —MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)
The Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) has warned its passengers to expect longer queues as they prepare to resume operations under the ‘new normal’.
The management will be implementing strict physical distancing where passengers are required to wear face masks. Senior citizens, pregnant women, and passengers ages 21 and below will not be allowed inside the MRT-3.
Passenger numbers will only be limited to 153 per train and those with high temperature will also not be allowed to enter.
According to MRT-3 Director for Operations Engr. Michael Capati, queues would take longer than an hour.
“They will have to allocate more time in their travel time. Kasi alam naman nila doon sa dati nating “normal”, mahaba ang pila. Matagal silang pumipila, much more dito sa ‘new normal’, mayroon compliance doon sa social distancing, (Because in the previous “normal”, lines were already long. They used to wait in line for hours, much more here in the ‘new normal’, there is compliance to social distancing),” he said.
With this, the MRT-3 management is recommending private companies to consider flexible work schedule to avoid overcrowding, especially during rush hours.
They are also planning to add more trains which include the three Dalian trains that passed in the decommissioning. Capati said there are 15 to 16 operational MRT-3 trains.
“Talgang kailangan mag-deploy ng more trains available (There is a need to deploy more available trains),” he said.
Meanwhile, the LRT-1 and LRT-2 are also preparing to implement new protocols under the ‘new normal’. LRT-2 will limit the number of passengers to 160 per train while LRT-1 will limit the number of passengers to 158. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
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