The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has recommended increasing the passenger capacity in public utility vehicles (PUVs) to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) after the National Capital Region (NCR)’s quarantine status was downgraded from Alert Level 4 to the more relaxed Alert Level 3.

Currently, maximum passenger capacity stands at 50 percent, as mandated by health health protocols.

This should now be increased “significantly”, subject to the health and safety protocols to be set by the IATF, to help commuters, PUV drivers and operators, according to transport officials.

However, they could not give a specific number as of presstime.

“We need to increase PUV passenger capacities to cope with the increased number of individuals using public transport due to the imposition of a more relaxed quarantine status,” explained DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor in an online media briefing Oct. 18, 2021.

While boosting the PUV vehicle passenger capacity in the ongoing Alert Level 3 quarantine status in Metro Manila, Asec. Pastor assured that the proposal to be submitted to the IATF will be based on both technical and medical studies.

“The increase will be significant but I cannot give the exact figure at this point in time,” he reiterated. The DOTr wants its proposal to be based on technical expertise and backed-up by medical studies, he underscored. In addition, the

DOTr will also consider the safety protocols existing in the affected local government units in its proposal to be submitted to the IATF.

For the meantime, the DOTr will continue its monitoring of passenger capacity in PUVs amid the pandemic.

Health protocols should be enforced at all times, Pastor noted.

For this reason, they continue to have random inspections and random mystery passengers to ensure that PUV operators and drivers abide by the 50 percent maximum load.

Source: Manila Bulletin (