Metro Manila community quarantine transportation restrictions: Here’s what you need to know

Robie de Guzman   •   March 14, 2020   •   4934

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday, March 14 released a set of guidelines for public transportation restrictions during the implementation of the community quarantine in Metro Manila effective Sunday, March 15 to April 14.

Under the guidelines, drivers and operators of public utility vehicles need to observe the following passenger limit:

  • UV Express van should not have more than six (6) passengers including driver; passengers should be one seat apart.
  • Public jeepneys should not board more than half of their regular capacity including driver, passengers should be one seat apart
  • Public buses should not have more than 25 passengers including driver and conductor, without any standing passenger. Passengers should be one seat apart.
  • Taxis/Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), including accredited airport taxis should not have more than four passengers, including driver. One seat apart distance between passengers should be maintained.
  • Multiple bookings for a single trip provided by the TNVS is prohibited.

Provincial buses and inter-regional trips of jeepneys and UV Express traveling to and from Metro Manila shall be terminated on the entry points identified by the Philippine National Police (PNP). Buses and jeepneys will be waiting at these entry points for unloaded passengers from outside Metro Manila.

Drivers and conductors should also remind passengers to be ready to present valid company ID, which shows the address of workplace, and government-issued ID, which shows their place of residence.

Point-to-Point (P2P) Buses from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport shall be allowed to operate as scheduled, subject to protocols or procedures of the Department of Health (DOH) and the PNP.

The guidelines also stated that the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis is suspended during the quarantine.

Authorities also directed operators to inform their drivers and conductors to be observant of their passengers and bring them to the nearest hospital should they manifest any symptom of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including cough, fever and breathing difficulty. They are also required to report the incident to the DOH and the PNP for proper handling.

For train services, the guidelines state the following:

  • Trains and platform shall be loaded at reduced capacity of 25% to reduce the concentration of passengers per train. One-meter social distancing rule will also be maintained.
  • Women and senior citizens section of train cars will be further separated to designated a subsection for the elderly.
  • Philippine National Railways (PNR) operations from Alabang to Calamba in Laguna and vice versa is suspended during the quarantine period.
  • Trains, including its interiors, and station premises and surfaces frequently touched by the public will also have to be disinfected at least every loop or every time a train reaches its end-stations.

The guidelines also directed station personnel to regulate the entry of passengers from station platforms to trains.

For air travel, the guidelines state that:

  • All domestic flights to and from Metro Manila are suspended; exemptions include cargo flights air ambulance, and government supplies, government military flights, weather mitigation flights, and maintenance and utility flights.
  • General aviation flights are also suspended during the quarantine period, and will be diverted to Sangley Airport and Clark Airport.
  • Special airport-to-airport international flight arranged by the airlines, and coordinated with airport authorities are allowed.
  • Passengers of international/commercial flights may opt to terminate flight in Metro Manila, and arrange their own transport within the region
  • Local airlines will also be endeavored by Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to operate sweeper flights out of Manila and into other airports.

Issuance of access passes for visitors is suspended, and only passengers and essential personnel are allowed to enter and exit airport terminals.

The guidelines also stated that one-meter social distancing among passengers shall be observed.

For sea travel, the following measures shall be strictly implemented:

  • Passenger traffic in all ports going in and out of Metro Manila will be suspended during the quarantine period.
  • Ferry services within Metro Manila will continue to operate but with 50% capacity per vessel.
  • Ships plying routes within Metro Manila will be allowed to dock at ports outside the region upon application for the issuance of special permit with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
  • Cargo vessels are still allowed to move to and from Metro Manila. Cargo trucks/vans going in and out of Port of Manila shall present a Cargo Entry/Withdrawal Permit secured from the Philippine Ports Authority for validation at designated checkpoints.
  • Foreign and domestic ships are directed to unload their wastes as the next port of call outside Metro Manila as waste reception services at the ports shall be suspended.

Authorities said the guidelines for transportation restrictions shall take effect immediately and shall be applicable until the declaration of public health emergency of international concern has been lifted.

The DOTr, however, stressed that these measures are subject to daily review and revision as necessary.

MRT-3 to increase train speed starting Oct. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The management of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) on Wednesday announced it will increase train speed to 40 kilometers per hour (kph) starting Thursday, Oct. 1.

In an advisory, the MRT-3 said its passengers can now expect faster travel time and shorter waiting time for train arrival as its trains are set to travel on a speed higher that the current 30kph.

The MRT-3 management said this is a result of the installation of the new long-welded rails (LWRs) in all the MRT-3 stations as part of the massive rehabilitation program of the rail line, which is being implemented by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy from Japan.

The operating speed will gradually increase from 40kph in October to 50kph by November and 60kph by December 2020.

“After being able to increase the number of running trains, our next target is to increase the speed of our trains in the mainline, until it reaches 60kph,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati said.

Despite the implementation of strict community quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, the MRT-3 management said it continued with the massive rehabilitation and rail replacement works.

The MRT-3 management said its rail replacement works was completed in September this year, several months ahead of its scheduled completion in February 2021.

Capati also said they are conducting monthly system check to test the alignment of the new tracks, the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), and signaling and communications to ensure that the trains are safe and secured while traveling along the mainline.

“Even during the implementation of strict community quarantine levels, with the approval of the IATF, we continued with the massive rehabilitation of the MRT-3, which includes replacing all worn out rails with new ones,” Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

“Noong mga nakaraang buwan, naiayos natin ang mga bagon, ang mga aircon, maging ang mga elevator at escalator. Noong isang linggo, nagawa nating magpatakbo ng record-breaking number of trains sa MRT-3. Patunay lamang ‘yan na may Covid o wala, tuloy ang trabaho ng DOTr at ng MRT-3,” he added.

Prior to the completion of installation of the new LWRs, average train speed was 30kph with an average headway between 8.5 to 9 minutes for 20 trains.

“With the improvement on the running speed, waiting time is expected to be shortened to 6.5 to 7 minutes,” the MRT-3 said.

IATF approves implementation of service contracting of PUVs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 15, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the implementation of service contracting of public utility vehicles (PUVs).

Proposed by the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the service contracting scheme for public transport aims to subsidize public transport operations, incentivize PUV operators to return and serve commuters, and restore the livelihood of displaced transport workers, among others.

“The proposed stimulus bill has allocated budget to carry out a more financially-viable contracting scheme that will better benefit operators of public transportation units, the commuting public, and the overall public transport sector,” the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

IATF GIVES GO SIGNAL TO EDC, DOTr-BACKED SERVICE CONTRACTING SCHEME FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTIn a bid to further contain…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Sunday, September 13, 2020

The measure will soon be implemented with the signing of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the “Bayanihan 2” bill into law.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor said the measure will not only help operators and drivers with their livelihood but it can also help in limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We are pushing for the use of service contracting as these would allow for efficiency of travel and the reduction of transmission,” he said. AAC

DOTr warns against malicious websites using Tugade’s name as clickbait

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 10, 2020

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is warning the public against malicious websites that use the name of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as clickbait.

In an advisory, the department said these websites use Tugade’s driver’s license to lure internet users to a bitcoin website. The website requests users to supply personal information including phone numbers, email address, and passwords.

“The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is warning the public not to access and engage a malicious web page that uses a photo of a fake driver’s license of Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade as clickbait,” the advisory reads.

ADVISORYThe Department of Transportation (DOTr) is WARNING the public NOT TO ACCESS AND ENGAGE a malicious web page…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The DOTr reiterates that the department and Secretary Tugade are not connected or affiliated with the said websites.

The department also reminds the public to be careful in accessing websites and providing information since it can be used for criminal purposes. AAC

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