THE Department of Transportation yesterday said there would be no drastic changes in transportation policies for land, sea and air travel despite the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 4 over Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
Speaking on public briefing Laging Handa, DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. stressed, though, that health and safety protocols for public utility vehicle operators and commuters will be strictly enforced.
Tuazon said the 50 percent seating capacity and one-seat apart scheme remains in effect for public buses, as well as traditional and modern passenger jeepneys.
“Generally, for our public transportation walang pagbabago sa kapasidad (we are not adjusting the passenger capacity). For public utility buses, it remains 50 percent seating and no standing policy. Also with PUJs, the same 50 percent passenger load one seat apart,” Tuazon said.
For UV Express vans, taxi cabs, and transport network vehicle service (TNVS), the two-passengers-per-row rule stays in effect, including the driver. Tricycles will remain on the road but may only take on one passenger riding in the sidecar.
“For provincial buses, there will be no service suspension but strictly on a point-to-point basis. Bawal magsakay at magbaba (they are not allowed to pick up or unload passengers) between the point of departure and the destination,” Tuazon said.
Private cars, on the other hand, will have the same limit to the number of passengers.
“Private cars and motorcycles are allowed. There is no distinction with regard to passengers as long as they can prove that they are APORs (authorized persons outside of their residence),” the transportation official added.
Likewise, domestic flights and sea travel will remain in operation although again, only APORs would be allowed on board.
“For those coming in from outside the NCR Plus bubble, kailangan po nating siguruhin na ‘yung ating destinasyon ay pinapayaagan tayong makapasok (we encourage them to make sure that they would not be denied entry where they are headed),” Tuazon said.
The same advice is given to Filipinos who are boarding international flights as the DOTr official pointed out that some countries may have additional requirements as preconditions to entry into their jurisdiction.
For commuters who regularly use Metro Manila’s rail systems, the DOTr issued a reminder that the annual maintenance shutdown which is regularly held during the Holy Week will push through on schedule.
To alleviate the potential shortage of public transport, the DOTr is fielding additional buses along the affected rail service routes.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said Pasig River Ferry Service will operate at 50 percent of its sitting capacity until Wednesday, March 31. It will be closed on Maundy Thursday (April 1) and Good Friday (April 2). – With Noel Talacay