THE Railways Sector of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will scale-down its operations starting today (Monday) as its personnel continue to undergo testing for COVID-19.
“We should not compromise the health, safety, and security of the traveling public and our working people. That is a non-negotiable position,” DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said.
The management of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) said that starting today (Monday, April 5,2020), it will be operating on a limited scale with only 10 to 12 trains to be dispatched. The trains will be operating with 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.
The LRT-2 line meanwhile will be dispatching five trains on its limited operations. Displaced passengers will be accommodated by bus routes 9 and 10.
LRT-1 will be dispatching 17 trains in its limited run. Affected passengers will be accommodated by buses running on Route 17 (Monumento-EDSA).
Meanwhile, the management of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) has announced that it will be suspending its operations until Thursday, April 8, 2020.
With its operations resuming on April 9, Friday, the PNR will be dispatching 10-12 trains as compared to its pre-ECQ operations of 6-10 trains.
DOTr Secretary Tugade has ordered that all rail sector personnel who are considered as active COVID-19 cases and those who are still waiting for their test results be kept in isolation and not be allowed to enter trains or rail facilities. Also barred from entering rail facilities are their close contacts who had been identified after contact tracing, as well as those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
Further, the DOTr railways sector will be enforcing strict health measures in all of the facilities and trains of the 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 to be enforced also include the “Seven Commandments” that are to be strictly observed and enforced inside public transport and facilities, as recommended by health experts: 1) Wear face masks and face shields; 2) No talking and making telephone calls; 3) No eating; 4) Keep PUVs well-ventilated; 5) Conduct of frequent disinfection; 6) No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside the public transportation; and 7) Observe appropriate physical distancing rule.
In order to aid affected passengers, the DOTr road sector shall continue to deploy additional PUVs to ferry commuters to their destination
The Free Ride for Healthworkers and Medical Frontliners, as well as the Free Ride for Authorized Persons Outside of their Residences (APORs) on jeepney routes identified by the LTFRB operating under the Service Contracting Program, shall likewise continue.
The DOTr Railways Sector likewise reminds passengers and personnel to strictly observe the health protocols inside the trains and stations for their own safety. Passengers inside the trains who will be caught violating these protocols shall be escorted out on the next station, while appropriate disciplinary action / suspension shall be imposed on personnel caught violating the same rules.