(Eagle News) — Starting Thursday, Nov. 4, public transport in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces will be slowly eased from 70 percent to full capacity, Malacanang said.
This was after the Inter-Agency Task Force approved the recommendation of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to gradually increase passenger capacity in public transportation for road-based and rail transportation plying Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces.
“Inaprubahan ng inyong IATF ang rekomendasyon para sa pagtaas ng passenger capacity sa pampublikong transportasyon, kasama na rito ang road-based at rail transportasyon na bumibiyahe sa Metro Manila at kalapit na mga probinsiya, hanggang 70% full capacity. Ito ay magsisimula sa November 4, 2021. Maglalabas po ang DOTr ng memo tungkol dito,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Friday, Oct. 29.
Metro Manila is currently under Alert Level 3. The DOTr said that this meant “greater demand for public transport as more people are going out and more businesses are now open.”
The department said it would “gradually increase the passenger capacity in public transportation” in one month of pilot implementation in the National Capital Region.
“The DOTr is amenable to implement the increase in a gradual manner, beginning from 70%. The passenger capacity increase will be for road-based and rail-based public transport,” DOTr Usec. Artemio Tuazon Jr. said.
Tuazon, who is the DOTr representative to the IATF, said the Department presented to the IATF rapid analysis and review of related literature in support of the proposal.
-Welcome dev’t for PUV drivers-
DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor said the increase in passenger capacity in public transport, along with the recent P1 billion cash aid of the government will be a big help for PUV drivers.
“This is a welcome development considering the burden on our PUV drivers and operators of implementing the limited passenger capacity rule, which was aggravated by recent fuel price hikes,” Pastor said.
“Ito pong mga paraan na ito ay magiging malaking tulong sa ating mga tsuper ng pampublikong sasakyan. Ang DOTr at LTFRB, sa pamumuno po ni Secretary Art Tugade, ay ramdam at naiintindihan ang kanilang hinaing at hirap kung kaya naman kami ay nagpursige na itulak sa IATF na madagdagan na ang kapasidad sa public transport,” he added.
The DOTr said that “the livelihood of public transport drivers and operators was severely affected with passenger capacity in public transport maintained at 50% due to previous pandemic restrictions.”
“Increasing passenger capacity will mean higher revenue for the public transport sector, considering the increase in expenses brought by rising fuel prices.
The DOTr said that because more than 80 percent of Metro Manila’s target population is already fully vaccinated, there is valid reason to increase allowed capacity in public transportation. As of Oct. 28, fully vaccinated individuals in Metro Manila reached almost 8.5 million or 86.93 percent of the target population.
The department will issue the necessary memoranda for the implementation of this gradual increase in public transport capacity after securing the IATF approval on their proposal.
(Eagle News Service)