Tugade orders testing of all railway personnel to avert the spread of COVID-19

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Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered the testing of all railway personnel, based on a risk and targeted approach. This is in order to ensure the safety and overall well-being of commuters, and to further avert the spread of COVID-19 especially to rail workers.

The DOTr Railway Sector is continuing with the mass testing of personnel from the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the Philippine National Railways (PNR), and the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 (LRT-1 and LRT-2) in line with Sec. Tugade’s directive.

As of 5 p.m. of yesterday, 860 personnel of the MRT-3 underwent swab tests. Of that number, 131 have tested positive for the virus. From the 3,284 total number of MRT-3 personnel, more employees are scheduled to undergo the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

For the PNR, 1,013 personnel underwent swab tests and 131 have tested positive. Of the 1,729 total number of PNR personnel, more employees are still to be tested.

The LRT-1, for its part, reports that of the 377 personnel who were tested, 117 personnel tested positive for COVID-19. More LRT-1 personnel from the total number of 1,185 will still be tested.

Meanwhile, 571 LRT-2 employees had been tested and 143 personnel were found to be positive of COVID-19. The rail operator said more personnel from its 1,277 total workforce will still have to undergo swab tests.

According to the management of the LRT-2, the testing of its personnel has contributed to the line’s limited operations since the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal was extended on Monday, 5 April 2021.

The MRT-3 line is operating with 14 train sets while the LRT-1 line is dispatching 17 trains. The LRT-2 line is operating with five trains.

Meanwhile, operations of the PNR remain suspended until Thursday, 8 April 2021.

MRT-3 commuters affected by the limited operations are being served by augmenting buses running on the EDSA Carousel route which can be accessed at the following stations: North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, GMA Kamuning, Santolan, Ortigas, and Guadalupe.

Displaced passengers of the LRT-2 are being accommodated by bus routes 9 and 10 while affected passengers of the LRT-1 are being served by buses on route 17 (Monumento-EDSA).

Meanwhile, health workers and medical frontliners continue to be served by the DOTr’s Free Ride Program that operate in 20 bus routes across the Greater Metro Manila area. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), meanwhile, has identified 50 jeepney routes under the Service Contracting Program to provide Authorized Persons Outside of their Residence (APORs) with free rides.

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