Monday, October 18, 2021

With Alert Level 3 for NCR, DOTr Pushes for Increase In PUV Passenger Capacity

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With the downgrading of the quarantine status in the National Capital Region (NCR) from Alert Level 4 to the more relaxed Alert Level 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is set to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) an increase in passenger capacity in public utility vehicles (PUVs).

“Irerekomenda po ng Kagawaran ng Transportasyon ang pagtaas ng passenger capacity sa ating mga PUVs to cope up with the increased number of individuals using public transport due to the imposition of a more relaxed quarantine status,” said DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor in an online media briefing on Monday, 18 October 2021.

Asec. Pastor was joined in the media briefing by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III and Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante.

Asec. Pastor said that increasing the number of PUV passenger capacity from the current maximum capacity of 50 percent as mandated by health protocols, to a significant increase, subject to the health and safety protocols to be set by the IATF, will not only help commuters but also PUV drivers and operators, as well.

“Tinitignan natin na magtaas ng seating capacity sa public transportation. Bilang tugon sa lumalaking gastusin sa day-to-day operations ng ating operators, and at the same time, this will also address yung matagal na hinihiling ng ating mga kasamahan sa business sector na dapat mas mapalago ang economic activities. We can contribute to that through an increase in public transportation, and their capacity,” Pastor said.

“Nais po naming bigyang diin yung guidance ni Secretary Art Tugade na dapat po balansehin natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga drivers, ‘yung pangagailangan ng ating mga operators kumpara sa kakayanan ng ating mga pasahero ngayong pandemya. Maalala natin na karamihan sa ating mga kababayan ay nahinto sa trabaho, yung iba naman ay babalik pa lamang sa trabaho because of the Level 3 status dito sa NCR,” Pastor added.

Pastor said that while the increase in PUV vehicle passenger capacity amid the ongoing Alert Level 3 quarantine status in Metro Manila will be significant, he assures that the proposal to be submitted to the IATF will be based on both technical and medical studies.

“The increase will be significant. I cannot give the exact figure at this point in time, dahil ang gusto po ni Secretary Tugade, ang ating magiging proposal sa IATF ay ‘di lamang based on technical expertise but also backed-up by medical studies. Ang bilin po ni Sec. Tugade, kinakailangan po na safe ang pag-iincrease natin. Sa puntong ito ay inaaral po natin itong mabuti at kumukuha po kami ng relevant data from studies and journals to back-up this proposed increase para matulungan po natin ang mga operators and drivers,” he said.

In addition, following the directive of Transportation Secretary Tugade, the DOTr will also consider the safety protocols existing in the affected local government units in its proposal to be submitted to the IATF.

Pastor said that for the meantime, the DOTr will continue its monitoring of passenger capacity in PUVs amid the pandemic.

“Kasabay din ng pagdami ng ating pasahero ay ‘yung mga nag-violate ng ating existing health protocols. Kung kaya’t nag meet kami ng I-ACT to reiterate yung directive ni Secretary Tugade that health protocols should be enforced at all times. Kaya tuloy ang pagkakaron ng random inspections, random mystery passengers to ensure po na 50 percent maximum load po tayo at this point in time habang isinaayos pa nami ang ating magiging request sa IATF to increase the seating capacity,” he said.

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