As several parts of the country are now placed under the more relaxed General Community Quarantine (GCQ), public transportation in these areas is now allowed to ferry commuters to and from their destinations once more.
But with COVID-19 still posing a threat to the public, the Department of Public Transportation (DOTr) recently released physical distancing guidelines that aim to protect commuters while riding in public utility vehicles (PUVs).
Starting with public utility buses (PUBs), they are only allowed to carry 50% of maximum passenger capacity (driver and conductor not included). Every passenger must sit at least one passenger seat apart from one another. This means that on 2x2 rows, only one passenger will be allowed to sit per row in order to possibly lessen COVID-19 transmission.
For buses with a 3x2 row configuration, a maximum of 2 passengers can sit on a three-row bench so that there is space between them. In addition, standing passengers will not be allowed to ride inside PUBs.
Also having a similar setup are shuttle services. Like PUBs, they are only allowed to have 50% maximum passenger capacity. Only one passenger will be allowed to sit per row in order to maintain physical distancing while inside the shuttle. Standing passengers are not allowed to ride inside the shuttles as well.
Over to UV Express Service vans, only two passengers will be allowed to sit per row instead of the usual four. This applies to UV Express vans with forward-facing seats, as well as side-facing seats. Moreover, only one passenger is allowed to sit beside the driver.
For Class 2 and Class 3 jeepneys, commuters must sit one seat apart from one another in order to maintain physical distancing. A passenger is allowed to sit beside the driver, provided that the driver is not accompanied by a conductor and is seated at the right-most side. Passengers will not be allowed to stand near the doorway while the jeepney is moving.
Taxis and Transport Network Vehicles (TNVS) will also be allowed to carry passengers in GCQ areas. However, they will only be allowed to have three passengers inside. One can sit beside the driver, while two can sit on the back seats.
Last but not least are tricycles. Only 1 passenger can ride in the sidecar of the tricycle and he / she must be seated on the right-most side in order to maintain physical distancing. Also, passengers are not allowed to sit behind the tricycle driver.
The DOTr reiterated that both the commuters, as well as those driving PUVs must strictly follow the physical distancing guidelines in order for everyone to be safe. The DOTr plans to have ground personnel monitor PUVs in the future as a way to make sure that the guidelines are being followed.