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MRT, LRT allowed to increase passengers

DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has instructed the DOTr railways sector to gradually increase the maximum passenger capacity of trains to accommodate more commuters, and to adhere to DOTr’s OPLAN AIR (ADD PUVs, routes, trains, INCREASE speed, capacity, REDUCE travel time, headway). This is pursuant to the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the entire Cabinet to approve the recommendations of the Economic Development Council (EDC) to aid in economic recovery.

Starting October 19, 2020, the Metro Rail Transit Line – 3 (MRT-3), the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will increase their respective maximum passenger capacities to 30 percent (%), and will then be gradually expanded up to 50%. The current maximum passenger capacity of these railway lines range from 13% to 18%.

In preparation for the implementation of the increased capacity, social distancing marks inside trains are being adjusted for passengers.

Our railway lines are preparing for the increased capacity, initially to 30%. Ang bilin po ni Secretary Tugade, dapat po ay dahan-dahan ang pagdagdag sa kapasidad ng mga tren at siguruhing mahigpit na ipatutupad ang 7 commandments upang maprotektahan ang kalusugan ng ating mga commuter,” said DOTr Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan.

The MRT-3 will be increasing its train capacity initially to 30% with 372 passengers per train set, from the current reduced capacity of 13% with 153 passengers per train set. Once the 50% increased capacity is implemented, the MRT-3 will be able to cater to 591 passengers per train set.

The increased train capacity is a big help for our passengers. Shorter waiting time and faster travel time will also help them to have better service from the rail line. We will make sure that as we implement the increased capacity inside the trains, we will also strictly enforce our health and safety protocols for the benefit of our passengers,” said MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael J. Capati.

The MRT-3 also increased its train speed to 40kph last October 1, 2020 after completion of the installation of new long-welded rails (LWRs) in all the MRT-3 stations, as part of the massive rehabilitation program of the rail line, which is being implemented by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy from Japan. Its operating speed will gradually increase from 40kph in October to 50kph by November and 60kph by December 2020.

The LRT-1 line will also be increasing its passenger capacity to 30% and expect that its trains will accommodate 370 passengers per train set. Once capacity is increased to 40%, it will be able to load up to 495 passengers per train set and with 50%, 620 passengers.

For the LRT-2, trains will be able to accommodate 486 passengers per train set at 30% capacity, 652 passengers for 40%, and 814 at 50% capacity.

Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said the increased passenger capacity will ensure that more workers will be brought to their workplaces as Metro Manila and its adjacent areas slowly re-open for business under general community quarantine (GCQ).

We welcome this new development from the DOTr and we assure compliance. This eased physical distancing rule and increase in train capacity will benefit a greater number of our valued commuters while also supporting the country’s journey towards economic growth and recovery,” said LRTA Administrator Berroya.

The PNR will be implementing an increase to 30% in the capacity of each of the rail line’s train models.

We will comply to the directive, nevertheless we have the health and safety of our passengers as priority. We shall obtain the best possible capacity based on the parameters set utilizing optimal means to isolate passengers. While we aim for economic reintegration through the transportation service we also keep in mind the safety of our passengers and employees,” said PNR GM Junn Magno.

As such, at 30% capacity, PNR will be able to accommodate 179 passengers per train set for the DMU ROTEM model; 167 passengers per train set for the DMU 8000; 228 passengers per train set for the DMU 8100; and 302 passengers per train set for the EMU model.

At 40% increased capacity, the DMU ROTEM model can cater to 196 passengers per train set; 182 passengers per train set for DMU 8000; 249 for DMU 8100; and for EMU, 330 passengers per train set.

Once the 50% capacity is implemented, the PNR will be able to serve 212 passengers per train set for the DMU ROTEM model; 198 passengers for DMU 8000; 270 for the DMU 8100 model; and 357 passengers per train set for the EMU model.

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid the approved increase in passenger capacity, the 7 Commandments inside public transport will be stictly enforced inside the trains.

Train marshals will be deployed in stations and inside the trains to ensure stringent compliance of passengers.

The 7 Commandments are: 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.