Bus firm readies for 'new normal' with 'independent-seater' concept

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2020 11:12 AM


MANILA - A bus company has launched its "new normal plan" ahead of the shift to eased restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, coming up with reconfigured seating for spacing requirements for the safety of passengers. 
 
DLTB Bus Co, whose fleet plies routes across the country, has designed altered seating inside its buses: from the traditional arrangement of one aisle with two passengers side by side on either sides, to three rows with two aisles. 

“Ito po ay individual, independent seater… 3 rows, dalawang aisle,” said DLTB chairman and CEO Narciso Morales.

(There is the individual, independent seater... 3 rows, 2 aisles.)

The new configuration can be seen in this video DLTB shared on its official Facebook page. 

 

In an interview on ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, Morales said he hopes that their recommendation would be approved by government when the country shifts to the new normal.

“Sana aprubahan ng gobyerno para maumpisahan na namin,” said Morales. 

(We hope government approves so we could already start.)

Their proposal was already submitted to the Department of Transportation and other agencies related to transportation.

Morales said the reconfigured DLTB bus, equipped with air and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, can accommodate 36 passengers. It will also employ a non-contact payment system as passengers would only need to buy a card for the fare.

“Mas compliant ito kesa sa plano nilang i-convert 'yung 2x2 tapos gagawin nilang 50-percent capacity lamang,” he said.

(This is more compliant than limiting 2x2 (seater) buses to 50-percent capacity.)

This would mean restricting a 12-meter bus with 50-seat capacity to just having 25 passengers, which would incur losses for the bus operator, said Morales. 

“Magrereklamo ang mga bus operators dahil kulang po talaga 'yun. Short po iyon at malulugi ang operator,” he said.

(Bus operators will complain. That's short and the operator will be on the losing end.) 

The reconfigured bus is designed to discourage overloading and standing on aisles - a normal occurrence in public transport before the pandemic. 

“Halos naka-cubicle ang pasahero, no touch, pati driver may cubicle. Pinaka-safe sa lahat, pinaka-moderno sa mundo,” he said.

(Passengers are almost in cubicles, no touch, even the driver is in a cubicle. It's the safest, most modern in the world.)

Morales said bus operators can shoulder the cost for reconfiguring buses as he believes this would be the safest design against the spread of infection.

“Ang pinag-uusapan dito buhay na ng tao,” he said. “Ito sana ay maging standard sa lahat ng buses sa Pilipinas dahil ito talaga ay against COVID.”

(We are talking about lives here. Let's hope this becomes the standard for all buses in the Philippines because this design is really against COVID-19.)

Public transport, including provincial buses, were barred under quarantine regulations enforced in mid-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. 

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