MANILA – The railways sector of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will scale down its operations starting Monday as its personnel continue to undergo testing for Covid-19.
The management of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) also announced that it will be suspending its operations until April 8.
Health, safety, and the security of the traveling public and our working people are “non-negotiable”, according to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade in a news release on Sunday.
Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will be operating on a limited scale with only 10 to 12 trains to be dispatched.
The trains will have a limited capacity of 372 passengers per trainset or 124 passengers per car to comply with the pre-determined number of passengers per station.
Commuters who will be affected by the limited operation of the MRT-3, will be served by augmenting buses running on the EDSA Carousel route, which can be accessed at the following MRT-3 stations: North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, GMA Kamuning, Santolan, Ortigas and Guadalupe.
Light Rail Transit-2 (LRT-2), meanwhile, will be dispatching five trains. Displaced passengers will likewise be accommodated by bus routes 9 (Cubao-Antipolo) and 10 (Cubao-Manila, Sta. Mesa, Sampaloc, Sta. Cruz).
LRT-1 will be dispatching 17 trains in its limited run. Affected passengers will be accommodated by buses running on Route 17 (Monumento-Edsa).
PNR will resume on April 9, with 10 to 12 trains as compared to its pre-enhanced community quarantine operations of six to 10 trains.
Tugade ordered that all rail sector personnel who are considered active Covid-19 cases or are still waiting for their test results be kept in isolation.
They are not allowed to enter trains or rail facilities. Also barred are their close contacts who were identified after contact tracing, as well as those exhibiting symptoms.
Further, the DOTr railways sector will be enforcing stricter health measures in all of facilities and trains of MRT-3, LRT-1, and LRT-2 to stem the spread of Covid-19 and protect the health of both rail personnel and passengers.
Part of the stringent health protocols include the “seven commandments” that must be strictly observed and enforced inside public transport and facilities: wear masks and face shields; no talking and telephone calls; no eating; keep public utility vehicles (PUVs) well-ventilated; conduct of frequent disinfection; no passengers with Covid-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside PUVs; and appropriate physical distancing rule.
In order to aid affected passengers, the DOTr road sector shall continue to deploy additional PUVs to ferry commuters.
Passengers are advised to observe health protocols inside the trains and stations for their safety. Once caught violating protocols, they shall be escorted out on the next station, while appropriate disciplinary action or suspension shall be imposed on personnel caught violating the same rules.
The free ride for healthcare workers and medical front-liners, as well as for Authorized Persons Outside Residences on jeepney routes identified by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board operating under the Service Contracting Program, shall likewise continue. (PNA)