MRT-3 REOPENS. A security guard of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) wears full personal protective equipment inside one of its stations on Monday (July 13). Following its reopening, the MRT-3 said it now prohibits talking inside its trains as an added safeguard against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). (Photo courtesy of MRT-3)
MANILA – Six days after suspending its train service to complete coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing of all of its personnel, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) on Monday resumed operations with more stringent health safeguards.
In a Facebook post, the MRT-3 said it has resumed its train service with 12 of its CKD trains and two Dalian trains, with an average headway — or time between trains — of nine minutes.
“The first trains will leave North Avenue and Taft Avenue stations at 5:30 a.m. The last train from North Avenue station will depart at 9:10 p.m. while the last train from Taft Avenue station will depart at 10:11 p.m.,” the MRT-3 said in Filipino.
To further limit possible viral transmission among its trains, the MRT-3 has announced that it now prohibits its passengers from talking when inside its trains — including making and receiving phone calls.
“It is now prohibited for passengers to answer calls on mobile phones, or through any other device, as well as talking while inside the train,” the MRT-3 said.
The measure, it said, aims to curb possible transmission of the disease through the reduction of “respiratory droplets” that occur when talking, coughing, and sneezing, in addition to wearing face masks at all times.
It said it will also require passengers to comply with its intensified contact-tracing protocols such as mandatory accomplishment of health declaration forms.
“The forms will be distributed to passengers while they are queuing and before they enter the turnstile at each station,” the MRT-3 said.
To address the decreased passenger capacity of its trains brought by physical distancing, the MRT-3 said its bus augmentation program will continue with 90 buses running at a fixed headway of three minutes.
“The first trip will be at 4 a.m. and the last journey will be at 9 p.m. from North Avenue and Taft Avenue stations,” the MRT-3 said.
For northbound, the bus augmentation program currently has two loading stations at Taft Avenue and Ayala stations and unloads passengers at Ayala, Guadalupe, Ortigas, Quezon Avenue, and North Avenue stations.
For Southbound, it picks up passengers at North Avenue and Quezon Avenue stations and unloads passengers at Ortigas, Guadalupe, Ayala, and Taft Avenue stations.
On Thursday, the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) also ordered prohibiting its passengers from talking inside its trains to limit respiratory droplets. (PNA)