Railways to resume operations with limited passengers on May 16

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 3) — Major train lines in Metro Manila will resume operations with limited passengers by May 16, or after the the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted in the region.

In a statement on Saturday, The Department of Transportation announced that the Light Rail Transits 1 and 2 (LRT-1 and LRT-2), the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will operate at a reduced capacity to allow passengers to practice social distancing.

The LRT-1 will only operate with 43 passengers per train car (12 percent capacity), the LRT-2 with only 40 passengers (10 percent capacity), MRT-3 with 51 (13 percent capacity), and the PNR with 148 passengers (20 percent capacity), based on the Transportation Department's simulation of passengers inside trains maintaining one-meter social distancing.

"Social distancing of one meter should be strictly observed inside the trains and stations. Presence of markings, signages, tarpaulins and other logistics will be utilized to ensure its firm implementation," the DOTr said in its statement.

Pursuant to the guidelines of the Department of Health, passengers who are not wearing appropriate face masks, are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, and have a registered body temperature of 37.8 °C will not be allowed to enter train stations.

Senior citizens, persons aged 0-20, and pregnant women will also not be allowed entry "due to their susceptibility to COVID-19."

The DOTr added that regular disinfection and sanitation of train interiors, station premises and facilities will be conducted. Handwashing and disinfectant stations will also be installed to adhere to sanitary measures set by the DOH.

The DOTr and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases covering road, transport, aviation, maritime and railway sectors previously issued its omnibus guidelines for transportation vehicles that may operate in areas under the general community quarantine while still allowing passengers to observe physical distancing measures.

On May 1, the government allowed some public transport vehicles to operate again in low to moderate-risk areas.

For the aviation sector, only government and military flights, international flights subject to IATF protocols, air ambulance and medical supplies, flight check and weather mitigation flights, maintenance and utility flights, emergency flights, and domestic flights coming to and from provinces and cities under the general community quarantine are allowed.

Walk through x-ray machines, portable scanners and handheld metal detectors will be part of the airports' security screening of authorized passengers. COVID-19 rapid testing facilities are also present.

For the maritime sector, passenger capacity in ships and other passenger vessels has been reduced to 50 percent.

Wearing of personal protective equipment is mandatory upon entry of ports, terminals, and passengers vessels.

Meanwhile, for permitted public utility vehicles, drivers are required to use gloves and face masks.

Passenger load for buses and jeepneys should not exceed 50 percent of the vehicles' capacity. For UV Express and taxis, passenger load should not exceed two passengers per row.

Tricycles must not exceed one passenger in the side-car and backriding is not allowed.

Only private cars and motorcycles operating for the purpose of essential travels are allowed outside, with cars only allowing one passenger in the front seat.

Motorcycles are prohibited from having backride passengers, while the use of bicycles is highly encouraged.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Richmund De Leon told CNN Philippines on Saturday that public transportation in the road sector will be allowed, but they "will strictly impose health safety standards at all times to ensure the safety of [their] drivers and passengers."

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under the enhanced community quarantine last March 17 in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region. All necessary modes of public transportation were put to a halt and non-essential establishments were ordered to close down to limit movement.