(Eagle News)–Starting Monday, Oct. 19, the Metro Rail Transit-3 will increase its passenger capacity as the economy reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the MRT-3 said from the allowable maximum passenger capacity of 13 percent, or 51 passengers per train car or 153 passengers per train set, the allowable maximum passenger capacity will increase to 30 percent, or 124 people per train car or 372 passengers per train set.
The MRT-3 made the announcement after the Department of Transportation announced a one-seat-apart rule in all public utility vehicles, effectively scrapping the one-meter social distancing rule it earlier announced to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Prior to the announcement of the one-seat-apart rule, the DOTr said the maximum one-meter social distance among passengers in PUVs would be gradually reduced as the economy reopens, but this was rejected by President Rodrigo Duterte, amid fears of the spread of the virus.
The MRT-3 said the increase in the allowed maximum number of passengers was pursuant to the decision of President Duterte and his Cabinet to approve the recommendations of the Economic Development Council for the need to help in economic recovery.
“In addition to increasing our train capacity, our passengers can also expect more trains to be deployed along the mainline, shorter waiting time, and faster travel time,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael J. Capati said.
Earlier, the MRT-3 deployed 22 train sets along its mainline on September 21, the highest number of running trains recorded in history.
To complement the increase in transport capacity, strict health and safety protocols recommended by health experts will be enforced inside the trains, the MRT-3 said.
These include the wearing of face masks and face shields, the ban on talking and making telephone calls, and the ban on eating.
PUVs should also be well-ventilated and frequently disinfected.
No symptomatic passengers shall be allowed to board PUVs, where the “appropriate physical distancing rule” shall be observed.