As COVID-19 cases rise, DOTr directs PUV operators to implement stricter health protocols

As COVID-19 cases rise, DOTr directs PUV operators to implement stricter health protocols

MANILA: The Department of Transportation (DOTr) urged bus companies, public utility vehicle (PUV) operators, and transport terminals in the National Capital Region (NCR) to implement stricter health protocols as the region has been placed under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15 after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What is the maximum passenger capacity implemented in PUVs in Metro Manila?

    The 70% maximum passenger capacity rule will continue in NCR to keep up with the demand for public transport services.
  • What actions will be taken against the violators of the 70% maximum passenger capacity order?

    PUV drivers who do not follow the 70% maximum passenger capacity order, as well as the strict health protocols in their vehicles, may have their driver’s license suspended. Offending drivers may also face additional criminal complaints.
  • The Land Transportation Office (LTO) issued a memorandum reminding land-based transportation stakeholders to closely monitor their drivers and conductors and ensure that they strictly adhere to health protocols, particularly the 70% maximum passenger capacity for PUVs.

    The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also issued a memorandum urging PUV operators, drivers, and passengers to observe the "Seven Commandments for Public Transportation" and adhere to the 70% maximum passenger capacity order in PUVs.

    According to the LTFRB, non-compliance with health regulations onboard PUVs or a violation of the 70% maximum passenger capacity order are deemed violations of franchise conditions, which might result in hefty fines or impoundment of the involved PUV.

    PUV drivers who do not follow the 70% maximum passenger capacity order, as well as the strict health protocols in their vehicles, may have their driver’s licenses suspended. Offending drivers may also face additional criminal complaints.

    According to DOTr Secretary Art Tugade, the 70% maximum passenger capacity rule will continue in the NCR to keep up with the demand for public transport services. He pointed out that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will provide advice on any adjustments to the permitted maximum passenger capacity in public transportation.

    “With the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in NCR, the DOTr enjoins our land-based transport operators to remind passengers to strictly observe minimum health protocols and ensure that the maximum allowable passenger capacity is followed,” Sec. Tugade stated. “We cannot let our guard down. Following the government’s minimum health protocol is for our greater good. We must remain vigilant so we can reverse the uptick of cases in the country.”

    According to DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor, road sector agencies will concentrate on implementing the 70% seating capacity.

    “The DOTr Road Sector will make sure that the maximum passenger capacity is strictly followed. As COVID-19 cases increase in the NCR, we are urging our transport stakeholders, especially the riding public, to observe health protocols, and to be wary of PUVs not following the allowable capacity. This is the only way we can help in reducing the number of infections,” Asec. Pastor said.

    The "Seven Commandments of Public Transportation" are the wearing face masks, no talking and making telephone calls, no eating, keeping PUVs well-ventilated, conducting frequent disinfection, no passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside public transportation, and observing appropriate physical distancing.

    He stated, “It is the responsibility of each individual to comply with this requirement. These Seven Commandments for Public Transport create a sense of bayanihan among us Filipinos, which is needed in the fight against the pandemic.”

    Photo from the Department of Transportation

    Also read: Rewards, discounted rides await Grab users who get vaccinated

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