MANILA, Philippines – The Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) will temporarily shorten its operating hours due to the increasing number of LRT-2 frontline personnel infected with COVID-19, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said.
In an advisory, the LRTA said the shortened operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be implemented starting Saturday, April 17 until April 30.
“Consistent with the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), our Management opted to shorten the operating hours so as to help us prevent the further spread of the virus and avoid the possible paralysis of our operations in case the numbers continue to surge,” LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said.
Out of 1,944 total LRT-2 employees, 1,906 have been tested from April 7 to 8. Of this number, 273 individuals were found positive for coronavirus.
The LRTA said that only 56% are currently functioning among ticket management and sales collection personnel, and about 73% among train drivers. Some 68% of the station personnel are left available with the rest under quarantine due to COVID-19 infection or exposure.
“We have already isolated all the infected/exposed personnel, have implemented work-from-home arrangements for depot workers, revisited train ventilation and air-flow protocols, and ensured that all minimum public health standards are complied with at all times to avoid the further spread of the virus,” Berroya said.
He said that the reduced operating hours will allow the LRTA to still effectively manage LRT-2 operations considering the manpower deficit and allow COVID-19 afflicted employees to recover and complete their mandatory quarantine/isolation period.
The LRTA also noted that under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) being implemented until April 30, LRT-2 is expected to experience a significant decline in ridership.
“At this time of public health emergency, the welfare and safety of both our passengers and personnel must always come first,” Berroya said.
The LRTA appealed to passengers to strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols, stressing that “the road to beat the virus is a two-way street.”
Passengers are also reminded to always wear face masks and face shields, to be self-aware and socially disciplined, and to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.
Meanwhile, buses are plying Route 9 (Antipolo to Cubao) and Route 10 (Cubao to Doroteo Jose) to augment LRT-2 operations and to help accommodate affected passengers.
The normal LRT-2 operating schedule will resume on May 1, 2021, the LRTA said