125,000 Beep cards to be given away free to EDSA Busway commuters

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 6, 2020   •   390

AF Payments Inc. (AFPI), the operator of Beep card, will be giving away 125,000 free cards to EDSA Busway commuters who cannot afford one.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in a statement, lauded AFPI for its decision to give commuters free Beep cards until a QR-based electronic ticketing system becomes operational.

“We thank AFPI for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and for considering the plight of our commuters who have just started to rebuild back their lives after a series of strict quarantine measures that put pressure both on their social lives and livelihoods. For them, every centavo counts,” the statement read.

The decision comes after the suspension of the ‘No Beep Card, No Entry’ policy which was first implemented last October 1.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Department said they are also reviewing the possible implementation of the QR code-based electronic ticketing system on the EDSA Busway.

“With the use of a smartphone app and/or through online, passengers of vessels can now buy virtual tickets. As this is a contactless technology, commuters are best assured of proper social distancing needed to prevent transmission of the coronavirus,” the DOTr said. AAC

Construction of elevated busways to begin in four months — MMDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The construction of the elevated busways in several areas along EDSA will begin in four months, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to submit the design by next week.

After the design submission, Abalos said the bidding process will begin.

“We have to go [through] the process of bidding of procurement which is about 3-4 months. Give us four months matatapos na po ito (it will be completed). Gagawin namin ito sa corner ng (We will construct this at the corner of) Quezon City and Caloocan.” 

The MMDA said the elevated busway is among the solutions to ease traffic along EDSA.

“There is only one way to beat this. It’s what we called the elevated bus ramps,” Abalos added.

The MMDA chairman said the agency has around P200 million budget from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Quezon City local government to fund the said project.

The agency is also looking for more ways to further increase its budget for the construction of the busways. -AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

Senate panel wants to repeal DOTr order delegating MVIS to private operators

Robie de Guzman   •   February 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday said it has recommended the repeal of the department order and all issuances related to the delegation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private operators.

The panel, headed by Senator Grace Poe, said in its Committee Report No. 184 that the implementation of the MVIS is “flawed” and that the policy is “half-baked.”

“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr DO (Department Order) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended,” the report read.

“While fees have been lowered for now and testing seems to have been made optional, the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it,” it added.

The committee cited in its report various concerns on the implementation of the MVIS.

These include the issues on the legality of the MVIS privatization, lack of consultation and transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and overall incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.

The panel said these issues remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department.

It further recommended that the Senate blue ribbon committee conduct a probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.

“The questionable issuances seem to have created a favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed,” the report stated.

“The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be further investigated by the appropriate committee,” it added.

The panel likewise pointed out in its report that the absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, “almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results.”

“[N]ot only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process,” it added.

The report also emphasized that while “the policy of ensuring only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads is commendable, a half-baked policy is a bad policy.”

Poe earlier asked the DOTr and the LTO to submit the names of the companies and incorporators of the accredited PMVICs.

The committee report said that 12 out of 24 of them do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million, and eight others registered as sole proprietorships contained no information as to their financial standing.

It also pointed out that with only 24 PMVICs currently operational out of 458 originally targeted by the LTO, the unclear noncompulsory status of the MVIS only leads to more confusion for motorists.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the MVIS will no longer be mandatory following criticisms in its implementation.

The Transportation department also announced that PMVIC testing fees were lowered from P1,500 to P600 for private vehicles, and from P600 to P500 for motorcycles. The rate for public utility jeepneys, on the other hand, will remain at P300.

MRT-3 general manager Rodolfo Garcia passes away

Maris Federez   •   February 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Rail Transit-3 General Manager Rodolfo Garcia has passed away, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Wednesday night. He was 77.

On its Twitter post, the DOTr paid tribute to Garcia for his contribution to the improvement of the MRT-3 system.

“The entire DOTr family wishes to condole with the bereaved family of Gen. Garcia. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” the DOTr statement said.

“We acknowledge and highly appreciate Gen. Garcia for sharing his expertise, knowledge, and leadership. We recognize his untiring effort to improve the state of the MRT-3,” it added.

In January, the DOTr said Garcia tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the intensive care unit.

The DOTr added that MRT-3 director for Operations Michael Capati, 36 other office personnel, and six Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries staff also contracted the disease. —/mbmf

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