DOTr: Increased PUV capacity needed as more establishments open

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MANILA – The decision to increase the maximum capacity of public utility vehicles (PUV) was based on medical studies and would help meet public transportation demand, an official of Department of Transit (DOTr) stated on Wednesday.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran stated in a virtual briefing that the pilot implementation of a 70% increase in the maximum passenger capacity of PUVs in Metro Manila was made as more companies reopened.

Kinakailangan yung public transport supply ay magKo-compensate dun sa actual demand (Public transport supply needs to compensate for the actual demand),” Libiran said.

She claimed the increased capacity, which will go into effect on Thursday across Metro Manila, was based on “several medical studies,” one of which revealed that only 1.2 percent of Covid-19 clusters were linked to public land, air, and sea transport.

She said the study, which was published in 2020 by the International Association of Public Transportation and was based on data collected in Germany, there is only a 0.01 percent chance of contracting Covid-19 in public transportation, which dropped to a 0.005 percent risk when wearing face coverings like face masks and shields.

Moreover, she stated the DOTr has undertaken a “rapid analysis” based on the seven-day average per million population and the transport capacity of 10 countries: the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Australia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

“It was found out that transport capacity has no significant correlation with the number of Covid-19 cases,” Libiran said.

She also attributed the surge to Metro Manila’s high immunization rate, which she estimated to be around 85 percent of the target population.

“Evidence suggests that a high vaccination rate prompts an increase in public transport capacity. That is the very reason why the DOTr and even the IATF-EID approved yung ating (our) pilot implementation nitong ating (of the) increase in public transport capacity,” Libiran said.

As Covid-19 cases continue to drop, the DOTr declared that PUVs operating in Metro Manila and neighboring areas will expand passenger capacity from 50 percent to 70 percent.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has also eliminated the requirement for plastic barriers in public utility jeepneys across the country.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.