We have some good (or bad) news for commuters. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has announced that public utility vehicles (PUVs) will soon be allowed to operate at a higher capacity. However, it's not the 100% capacity previously proposed by the agency, which was met with criticism online. Instead, the DOTr says PUVs can operate at 70% capacity next month.

According to the DOTr's latest announcement, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) supports the proposed initial increase in passenger capacity for both road- and rail-based transport networks. For reference, PUVs and other forms of public transport are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity. But come November 4, 2021, all public transport plying Metro Manila will increase capacity to 70%.

DOTr: PUVs allowed operate at 70% capacity starting Nov. 4 image

“This is a welcome development considering the burden on our PUV drivers and operators of implementing the limited passenger capacity rule, which was aggravated by recent fuel price hikes,” said Asec. Steve Pastor.

The plans to increase passenger capacity to 100% haven't been scrapped, though. The DOTr still plans to return the seating capacity of public transport to full capacity in the near future. However, no timeline has been provided as to when that will be implemented. The agency did add that the pilot implementation will only last for one month. With that, expect to hear more announcements from the DOTr regarding the subject of seating capacity in PUVs.

“The DOTr will issue the necessary memoranda to execute the IATF approval on the gradual increase in passenger capacity in road and rail transportation, while implementing strictly health and safety protocols to help prevent the spread of Covid-19”, said the agency.

What do you think of DOTr increasing passenger capacity in public transport? Is it too soon, or will it benefit commuters? Let us know what you think in the comments.