Now, after nearly two years of running under suboptimal conditions, public transportation in the National Capital Region (NCR) is set to return to 100 percent capacity amid the shift to the least strict alert level designation.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has confirmed that all public utility vehicles (PUV) in the nation's capital will operate at full seating capacity under Alert Level 1.
The PUVs returning to 100 percent capacity include jeepneys, buses, trains, taxis, and tricycles. The MMDA aims to prevent abuse by only allowing public vehicles to carry passengers according to their official listed capacities.
Several public transport operators have also released guidelines in anticipation of the changes. MRT-3 management has said that it will allow up to 394 passengers per train car and 1,182 per train set.
Meanwhile, the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) has released a statement indicating that it will allow an average of 1,200 passengers per train set aboard the LRT-1. Management will continue to enforce public health standards and protocols, including requiring face masks and temperature checks, forbidding food and drinks inside the trains, and encouraging contactless payment solutions.
The return to full capacity for public transport is good news for many commuters, as it will allow more people to get around Metro Manila as efficiently as before the pandemic. As the country forges ahead into a post-pandemic landscape, we will likely see more flashes of our old lives return under a new and improved form. However, safety is still paramount, so commuters would do well to keep observing proper safety standards while taking extra care to protect themselves during the tail-end of the coronavirus crisis.