Following the increasing number of LRT-2 frontline personnel infected with COVID-19, the Light Rail Transit Authority will temporarily implement a shortened operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting Saturday, April 17, 2021 until April 30, 2021.
“Consistent with the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), our Management opted to shorten the operating hours so as to help us prevent the further spread of the virus and avoid the possible paralysis of our operations in case the numbers continue to surge,” LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said.
In a mass testing held for rail workers last April 7 to 8, 2021 as directed by the Department of Transportation, out 1,944 total LRT-2 employees/personnel, 1,906 have been tested as of this date where 273 tested positive.
Currently, only 56% are functional among ticket management and sales collection personnel, about 73% among train drivers, and 68% among our station personnel are left available with the rest under quarantine due to COVID-19 infection/exposure.
“We have already isolated all the infected/exposed personnel, have implemented work-from-home arrangements for depot workers, revisited train ventilation and air-flow protocols, and ensured that all minimum public health standards are complied with at all times to avoid the further spread of the virus,” Administrator Berroya noted.
He said that the reduced operating hours will allow the Management to still effectively manage LRT-2 operations considering the manpower deficit and allow COVID-19 afflicted employees to recover and complete their mandatory quarantine/isolation period.
It is also worth noting that under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) being implemented until April 30, 2021, LRT-2 is anticipated to experience a significant decline in ridership.
“At this time of public health emergency, the welfare and safety of both our passengers and personnel must always come first,” he added.
The Administrator thus appeals to passengers to strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols, saying that the road to beat the virus is a two-way street.
He reiterated that as LRT-2 implements stricter measures to curb the spread of the virus with more hours to disinfect equipment and screen personnel, passengers are in return reminded to always wear face mask and face shield, to be self-aware and socially disciplined, and to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.
Meanwhile, buses are plying Route 9 (Antipolo to Cubao) and Route 10 (Cubao to Doroteo Jose) to augment LRT-2 operations and to help accommodate affected passengers.
The mass testing was conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in cooperation with the Philippine Red Cross. Regular operating schedule shall resume on May 1, 2021.