TO transport more people, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) has allowed increased ridership in the country’s railway systems.
Beginning on Monday, October 19, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3), Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT 1), LRT 2 and Philippine National Railways (PNR) will expand their passenger capacity to 30 percent.
For the MRT, the number of passengers for each train set will be increased from 153 to 372, 370 passengers for LRT 1 and 486 passengers for LRT 2.
On the other hand, for PNR, 179 passengers will be allowed per train set for the DMU Rotem model, 167 passengers for the DMU 8000, 228 passengers for the DMU 8100 and 302 passengers for the EMU model.
The DoTr said the 30 percent capacity would be gradually expanded up to 50 percent.
More trains would be deployed to cut waiting time at the MRT 3, its director for operations Michael Capati said. “We will do this to help transport more people.”
“The increase in train capacity is a timely boost for the MRT-3, as the public demands a higher number of public transportation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
Health protocols will be observed including wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing. Talking or phone calls will not be allowed.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, passenger volume at the MRT 3 was more than 500,000 per day. LRT 1 used to ferry 300,000 to 500,000 riders, while the LRT 2 had a capacity of 240,000 passengers.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday encouraged passengers to have their own helmets with the looming return of motorcycle taxis.
He said drivers could provide helmets for passengers, but these should be disinfected after every use.
Motorcycle barriers should also be installed, he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended the return of motorcycle taxis to provide more transport in Metro Manila.
Año said the return of motorcycle taxis would be a big help to commuters.
Regular public transportation such as buses and UV Express were allowed to operate at 50 percent of their capacity.
WITH DEMPSEY REYES