Commuters, brace yourselves. Your rush hour trips might get a bit more crowded. Well, that's assuming the Department of Transport (DOTr) pushes through with their next plan.
About a week ago, the agency said they are ready to impose a new proposal from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). They plan to increase the passenger capacity of public transport vehicles from 50 percent to 75 percent.
This new ruling will come into play once it's approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID). Per the statement of the DOTr, “We leave the NEDA proposal to the evaluation of the IATF being the primary agency tasked to formulate plans and rules during this period of the pandemic as the country moves forward towards the new normal”.
The recommendation came from NEDA Director-General Karl Chua. The current status quo dictates a 'one-seat apart' policy aboard public transport. The 75 percent ruling will allow more people to return to work to support the country’s economic recovery. At least, that's the intention of allowing more passengers in PUVs.
For example, if a PUB (Public Utility Bus) has a seating capacity of 60 passengers, they will allow up to 45 passengers in the vehicle. That said, the DOTr and NEDA have yet to come up with Implementing Rules and Regulations once the rule is in place. However, the DOTr said strict health protocols will be “observed and enforced” in public transport vehicles and facilities such as terminals to prevent transmission of the disease.