The riding public is now adjusting to the new normal in public transport following the implementation of the “no vaccination, no ride” policy.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade signed the order amid the current surge of COVID-19 cases, particularly the Omicron variant.
The directive bans unvaccinated people from domestic travel to, from, and within the National Capital Region (NCR) via public transportation by land, rail, sea, and air.
As such, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) followed the directive to the letter on its first day of implementation on Monday, January 17. Although a number of riders were denied entry because they were not able to present their vaccination cards or any document justifying their unvaccinated status, the situation was peaceful.
A number of longtime LRT Line 2 (LRT-2) riders expressed their support for the DOTr’s directive. This indicates that the “no vax, no ride” policy has given greater confidence to the riding public in utilizing the rail transport system as a safe, convenient, and economical mode of public transportation.
Senior citizen Oscar Halaguena, who is the president of his own consultancy firm, said, “As part of the riding public of LRT2, I agree with the ‘no vax, no ride’ policy since I view this as my contribution to foster public health. It prevent the commuter train from being shut down again like what happened last year after many of their personnel got infected. Public health must be everyone’s responsibility.”
Aris Magpantay, who serves as a branch manager of a marketing firm, echoed Halaguena’s sentiments. “I am in favor of the policy because I believe that this could curb the spread of the virus. By controlling the mobility of those who are unvaccinated, we prevent an increase of cases. Let us all be open-minded and cooperative so that the pandemic would end this year.”
Meanwhile, 22-year-old student Mark Cuarez, recognizes that people are free to choose to be vaccinated or not. However, he reasoned, “The ‘no vax, no ride’ policy is an added protection provided to us in our battle with this COVID-19. Though it is a choice, it is also our social responsibility to be mindful of other people’s welfare and wellness.” The LRTA continues to remind the riding public that the “no vax, no ride” policy is in place to protect both the train passengers and its employees. While the Omicron variant is mild, there is no telling as of now if it will have long term effects on those who get infected.