Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. | Screengrab from PCOO

An official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday revealed plans to gradually increase the passenger capacity in public transportation.

During the Virtual Presser, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said a study is ongoing to determine how best to balance the public’s need for increased public transport capacity without sacrificing the health and safety of the passengers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Meron ho kaming pag-aaral at a-approach ho kami sa IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infections Disease) na kung pwede dagdagan, maski 5 or 10 percent, and we make it gradual (We have a study and we’re going to approach the IATF-EID if we can increase by 5 or 10 percent, and we make it gradual),” Tugade said.

Currently, public utility vehicles (PUV) such as buses and modern and traditional jeepneys are limited to 50 percent of their maximum sitting capacity.

Aside from the IATF-EID, he said the decision to increase public transport capacity will also be decided with respective local government units.

He said PUV operators, for both buses and jeepneys, have also expressed their readiness to increase the passenger capacity of their units.

“Kung mararapatin at papayagan na iincrease yung capacity, increase ho namin yan at nagsabi yung mga operator, both jeepney and bus, na kakayanin ho nila yan (If it is right and we’re allowed to increase the capacity, we will. And operators of both jeepneys and buses have said they can do it),” Tugade said.

On Tuesday, the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced plans to address the long lines of commuters, specifically in some stations of the EDSA Busway.

These plans include a review of the current free ride program of the DOTr and LTFRB in road transport and its possible expansion to other public transportation platforms, dispatching of more buses and “rescue skip buses”, more traffic marshals, new traffic plans, and other measures to address congestion in EDSA that affect the Busway. (PNA)

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