DOTr-TWG: Pilot test run of motorcycle taxis to continue

Maris Federez   •   January 22, 2020   •   477

Members of the Riders of the Philippines (ROTP) advocacy group stage a protest motorcade to demonstrate against a ban on using motorbikes in ride-sharing platforms in Quezon City (Metro Manila), the Philippines, 16 December 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation-Technical Working Group (DOTr-TWG) will not be pushing through with its plan to stop the pilot test run of motorcycle taxis in Metro Manila and Cebu following a meeting with concerned stakeholders on the new policies set by the government.

Motorcycle taxis can still operate with no fear of getting apprehended by authorities until the three-month pilot test run ends on March 23.

The decision was issued following an executive session of the DOTr-TWG officials with representatives of motorcycle taxi companies at the House of Representatives on Wednesday (Jan. 22).

“Sabi namin we are considering all sentiments yung recommendations that’s why we came up to this adding of area of study and the raising of the cap,” said DOTr-TWG chief Antonio Gardiola.

They also agreed to raise the cap of motorcycle taxi units that will be allowed to operate from 39,000 to 63,000, and to include Cagayan de Oro in the rest run.

Metro Manila will have a limit of 45,000 motorcycle taxi units in operation; while Cebu and CDO will have 9,000 each.

Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It will have an equal share of these numbers.

Meanwhile, Angkas has promised to withdraw the charges it filed before the court against the guidelines set by the government on motorcycle taxis.

“We are now in the spirit of collaboration we spoke with the secretary yesterday..we also headed to the opinions of the senators and on the good congressmen today […] hopefully we can get the success of the pilot for the necessary law to be passed,” Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca said.

The DOTr-TWG has likewise withdrawn its recommendation to blacklist Angkas in the pilot test run.

The agency has earlier recommended the termination of the pilot test run of motorcycle taxis due to the charges that Angkas filed.

The registration of motorcycle taxis is ongoing, while the TWG and concerned parties decide on its deadline.

The TWG will still not allow entry of new motorcycle taxi companies until the end of the pilot test run. — (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

DOTr unveils tunnel boring machines for construction of Metro Manila Subway

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday presented to the public the major parts of tunnel boring machines (TMB) for the construction of the Metro Manila Subway Project.

During an event held in Pasay City, the DOTr made a presentation showcasing the assembly timeline and how these machines will help accelerate the construction of the Metro Manila Subway.

The tunnel boring machines were unveiled together with representatives of the Japanese contractor, Shimizu Corporation, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“The Boring Machine is manufactured per specific designs. This is designed to what they found on the soil that is to be bored. Hindi ‘to ‘yung pupunta ka lang sa hardware at bibili ng dalawang boring machine. Hindi ho ganun ‘yan. That’s why it takes a little bit of time. But the moment it comes and it is assembled, the boring becomes fast and more efficient,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters during a briefing.

The major parts of a TBM which were unveiled include the shield jack, cutter reduction gear motor, main bearings, and articulation jack.

The DOTr said TBMs are integral in building the subway as these are used to dig underground and lay the tunnels. These machines can excavate through a variety of ground conditions, from hard rock to sand.

Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said around six tunnel boring machines will be used for the construction of the partial operability phase, or the first three stations of the Metro Manila Subway.

“Parte po ito ng tinatawag nating tunnel boring machine na siyang maghuhukay ng mga tunnels natin para sa Metro Manila Subway project natin. ‘Yung una nating tunneling na gagamit ng tunnel boring machine ay mag-uumpisa galing sa depot natin sa Ugong, Valenzuela patungong Quirino Highway Station,” Batan said.  

The first tunnel boring machine is expected to be delivered in August of this year, about four months ahead of schedule.

Batan said that after the machine’s delivery in August, the tunneling will begin from the East Valenzuela Station in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City towards Quirino Highway Station.

The Metro Manila Subway will have 15 stations from Ugong, Valenzuela, all the way to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

The DOTr said it is eyeing the subway to become partially operational by 2021. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Recto confident Duterte will support motorcycle taxi bill

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto has expressed confidence that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign into law the proposed Motorcycle Taxi Bill, which seeks to lift the 56-year ban on two-wheelers as a public utility vehicle (PUV).

In his speech sponsoring Senate Bill No. 1341 Tuesday — which proposes to legalize motorcycle taxis such as Angkas, JoyRide and MoveIt — Recto referred to Duterte’s fondness for motorcycles, saying this had shown the motorbike as a safe ride.

“The motorbike is the ride of choice of the President,” he said.

“So, what is good for the president must be good for the ordinary citizen,” he added, before laying down the stringent conditions on how to make for-hire motorcycles “safe for the driver, for the passenger, and for the other vehicles on the road.”

The measure seeks to amend Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Tariff Code, which prohibits the use of motorcycles as public transport.

The proposal defines motorcycles-for-hire as any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office, which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride-hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.

The bill states that the motorcycle should weigh less than 1,000 kilograms, can travel faster than 50 kilometers per hour, has a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters, and a backbone-type built.

Along with the vehicle registration, the motorcycles for hire will also be required to secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit issued by the LTFRB.

The measure also states that motorcycle taxis fall under a classification of public utility automobiles along with public utility trucks, taxis and auto-calesas, garage automobiles, hire trucks and trucks owned by contractor and customs brokers and customs agents.

Recto urged his fellow legislators to pass the bill.

The Senate committees on public services and the local government earlier approved a committee report allowing the use of motorcycle taxis as a form of public transport in the country.

PNR unveils two new train sets

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 14, 2020

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) unveiled two new train sets on Friday (February 14).

The two 8100 series of diesel multiple unit (DMU) delivered from Indonesia will begin operating on Tuesday (February 18) from Tutuban to Alabang station. It is expected that these series can serve 1,000 passengers per trip.

Passengers may avail free rides during the trains’ 150-hour validation and static test which will last for 10 days.

PNR General Manager Junn Magno led the unwrapping of the 8100 series consisting of two (2) trainsets with four-car formation per set.

“With the additional new trains, ang estimate namin, the whole fleet can now accommodate additional 35,000 passengers, and it will be increasing in the next few years,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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