Metro Manila community quarantine transportation restrictions: Here’s what you need to know

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday, March 14 released a set of guidelines for public transportation restrictions during the implementation of the community quarantine in Metro Manila effective Sunday, March 15 to April 14.

Under the guidelines, drivers and operators of public utility vehicles need to observe the following passenger limit:

  • UV Express van should not have more than six (6) passengers including driver; passengers should be one seat apart.
  • Public jeepneys should not board more than half of their regular capacity including driver, passengers should be one seat apart
  • Public buses should not have more than 25 passengers including driver and conductor, without any standing passenger. Passengers should be one seat apart.
  • Taxis/Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), including accredited airport taxis should not have more than four passengers, including driver. One seat apart distance between passengers should be maintained.
  • Multiple bookings for a single trip provided by the TNVS is prohibited.

Provincial buses and inter-regional trips of jeepneys and UV Express traveling to and from Metro Manila shall be terminated on the entry points identified by the Philippine National Police (PNP). Buses and jeepneys will be waiting at these entry points for unloaded passengers from outside Metro Manila.

Drivers and conductors should also remind passengers to be ready to present valid company ID, which shows the address of workplace, and government-issued ID, which shows their place of residence.

Point-to-Point (P2P) Buses from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport shall be allowed to operate as scheduled, subject to protocols or procedures of the Department of Health (DOH) and the PNP.

The guidelines also stated that the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis is suspended during the quarantine.

Authorities also directed operators to inform their drivers and conductors to be observant of their passengers and bring them to the nearest hospital should they manifest any symptom of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including cough, fever and breathing difficulty. They are also required to report the incident to the DOH and the PNP for proper handling.

For train services, the guidelines state the following:

  • Trains and platform shall be loaded at reduced capacity of 25% to reduce the concentration of passengers per train. One-meter social distancing rule will also be maintained.
  • Women and senior citizens section of train cars will be further separated to designated a subsection for the elderly.
  • Philippine National Railways (PNR) operations from Alabang to Calamba in Laguna and vice versa is suspended during the quarantine period.
  • Trains, including its interiors, and station premises and surfaces frequently touched by the public will also have to be disinfected at least every loop or every time a train reaches its end-stations.

The guidelines also directed station personnel to regulate the entry of passengers from station platforms to trains.

For air travel, the guidelines state that:

  • All domestic flights to and from Metro Manila are suspended; exemptions include cargo flights air ambulance, and government supplies, government military flights, weather mitigation flights, and maintenance and utility flights.
  • General aviation flights are also suspended during the quarantine period, and will be diverted to Sangley Airport and Clark Airport.
  • Special airport-to-airport international flight arranged by the airlines, and coordinated with airport authorities are allowed.
  • Passengers of international/commercial flights may opt to terminate flight in Metro Manila, and arrange their own transport within the region
  • Local airlines will also be endeavored by Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to operate sweeper flights out of Manila and into other airports.

Issuance of access passes for visitors is suspended, and only passengers and essential personnel are allowed to enter and exit airport terminals.

The guidelines also stated that one-meter social distancing among passengers shall be observed.

For sea travel, the following measures shall be strictly implemented:

  • Passenger traffic in all ports going in and out of Metro Manila will be suspended during the quarantine period.
  • Ferry services within Metro Manila will continue to operate but with 50% capacity per vessel.
  • Ships plying routes within Metro Manila will be allowed to dock at ports outside the region upon application for the issuance of special permit with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
  • Cargo vessels are still allowed to move to and from Metro Manila. Cargo trucks/vans going in and out of Port of Manila shall present a Cargo Entry/Withdrawal Permit secured from the Philippine Ports Authority for validation at designated checkpoints.
  • Foreign and domestic ships are directed to unload their wastes as the next port of call outside Metro Manila as waste reception services at the ports shall be suspended.

Authorities said the guidelines for transportation restrictions shall take effect immediately and shall be applicable until the declaration of public health emergency of international concern has been lifted.

The DOTr, however, stressed that these measures are subject to daily review and revision as necessary.

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