LRT management lists anti-COVID measures implemented in trains amid uptick in cases

June 23, 2022 - 6:57 PM
LRT-1 passengers
Passengers of LRT-1 in this photo uploaded by its management on Facebook on June 3, 2020. (Photo from Light Rail Manila Corporation via Facebook)

The Light Rail Manila Corporation assured its passengers that its train sets are equipped with systems to prevent COVID-19 transmissions.

The LRMC issued this statement on Twitter on June 23 amid the steady upticks in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila in the past few days.

“Under Alert Level 1, public transport is already allowed to operate at 100% passenger capacity. We recognize that the threat of COVID-19 still remains,” the firm said.

“That’s why LRMC has installed UVC disinfection and hospital-grade HEPA filter system in the air-conditioning units of all our train sets to remove pathogens and keep indoor air clean. We are the only railway company so far that has implemented this,” it added.

The region remains under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, the most relaxed alert level status, until the end of June.

The LMRC also listed the following measures it is implementing to ensure public safety to its passengers:

  • Train doors opening and closing for 1 to 2 minutes in every station “allows for the fresh air exchange”
  • Calibrated CO2 (carbon dioxide) monitors that includes “the ambient CO2 level vis-a-vis inside trains and look at average reading (versus instantaneous reading)”
  • Regular random sampling of its Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Department

Furthermore, the LRMC stressed that public health and safety is its top priority in its operations.

“Rest assured that LRMC continues to comply with the minimum health protocols and that safety remains a top priority for our company,” it said.

This statement was issued under the replies of an earlier tweet from transport advocate Ken Abante.

On Wednesday, Abante tweeted a photo of a CO2 monitor reading while on a train ride. The reading showed a 2,986 ppm level of CO2 inside the train.

“Train commuters at LRT 1 are at high-risk of COVID-19 infection. Even during non-rush hour, the train has 3 times the recommended carbon dioxide levels by DOLE!” he tweeted.

“Please OPEN the train windows, monitor, and improve ventilation ASAP! Keep us safe!” he added.

In the next tweet, Abante shared that the carbon dioxide inside the same train rose to 3,124 ppm.

He also questioned why windows are not allowed to be opened.

“Note the sign: Do not open the window. Why? At least improve the entry of fresh air through vents? I can’t see why both can’t be done, especially as COVID cases are increasing again in Manila,” he said.

Are LRT’s preventive measures enough?

In an update via his Twitter thread, Abante shared an old video from LRMC’s Facebook page that showed how the LRT staff keep the train sets well-ventilated and disinfected against COVID-19.

The company released this video on Facebook on March 16, 2021.

Given the daily volume of passengers, he still casts doubt if these measures are enough to stop the spread of the virus.

“The doors open and close too every few minutes – which also helps in fresh air ventilation. But with the 3,000 ppm CO2 level, I’m not sure this is enough. The hope is that the HEPA filters clean the air enough, but I’m not sure this is enough given sheer volume of passengers,” Abante said.

The Department of Labor and Employment recommended the CO2 concentration shall not exceed 1,000 ppm for indoor spaces.

This was the protocol stated under its “Guidelines on Ventilation for Workplaces and Public Transport to Prevent and Control the Spread of COVID-19.”