First set of Dalian trains to hit MRT-3 tracks Tuesday

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019   •   399

The third set of MRT-3 trains that were purchased from Chinese firm CCRC Dalian

MANILA, Philippines – The first set of China-made Dalian trains will be deployed at the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) on Tuesday night, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced.

“Starting today, 15 October 2019, one Dalian train set (equivalent to three train coaches) will hit the tracks of MRT-3 mainline during evening off-peak hours, from 8:30PM to 10:30PM,” the DOTr said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The DOTr said this development comes after MRT-3’s Japanese maintenance provider, Sumitomo Corporation-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – TES Philippines signed a consent for the limited deployment on one Dalian train set.

The said consent, according to the DOTr, indicates that the train set will be deployed for an initial trial period until the maintenance provider begins its rail replacement works in November 2019.

“Currently, three Dalian train (9 train coaches) sets have already completed the necessary commissioning and validation tests including the 150-hour run. Each Dalian train set has a three-car configuration that can carry 1,050 passengers per trip,” the DOTr said.

Each train set can carry up to 1,050 passengers.

Around 48 Dalian trains were purchased by the Aquino administration for P3.8 billion but most of it have not been used over doubts of its compatibility with the current MRT tracks.

Its deployment was delayed as the MRT-3 management had to wait for the consent of Sumitomo Corp. which maintains and rehabilitates the line.

PH to use cashless payment system in taxis to further curb COVID-19 spread – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it is working on forging partnerships with various digital payment providers for the implementation of cashless or contactless transactions in taxis and Transport Network Service Vehicles (TNVS) as part of the “new normal” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the DOTr said it has tapped payment platforms to help equip taxis and TNVS with scan-to-pay systems to limit direct physical contact between drivers and passengers, thus further curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Taxis and Transport Network Companies (TNC) are allowed to operate in areas placed under general community quarantine at reduced capacity and with strict health and safety protocols.

“Cashless and contactless payment scheme will now be part of the ‘new normal’ in the public transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The DOTr said one of the first to tie-up with the government for this purpose is GCash.

Under the partnership, GCash will help enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the Scan To Pay app where GCash users only need to scan the unique QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares.

GCash is also offering the GCash PowerPay+ solution to taxi operators where they can send out salaries, allowances, and commissions through to their employees, or members nationwide, the DOTr said.

“GCash strongly supports the government’s call for the use of mobile payments to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said.

Authorities are also in talks with other payment platforms PayMaya, Squidpay and Beep, among others, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said in the same statement.

“We had consultations with these providers over the weekend. We are encouraging these digital payment providers to partner with taxi operators and TNCs to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread,” LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said.

“On the part of the TNCs such as Hirna, Grab and Owto, they are already accepting cashless transactions,” he added.

GCash tapped for faster, safer distribution of cash aid to PUV drivers – DSWD

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Public utility vehicle (PUV) and transport network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers in the National Capital Region (NCR) who are qualified beneficiaries of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) may soon get their cash assistance through GCash, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced Thursday.

In a statement, the DSWD said the department, along with the Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, forged a partnership with G-Xchange, Inc. (GCash) for the distribution of cash subsidies to TNVS and PUV drivers and their families.

The DSWD said the partnership aims to facilitate a quicker and safer approach of cash disbursement since the payout scheme promotes cashless and contactless transactions, compliant to the health and safety protocols being implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

GCash is one of the mobile wallet platforms widely used in the Philippines.

The DSWD said that by leveraging financial technology for the disbursement of cash aid, the risk of crowding will be reduced in disbursement centers like banks, while also improving efficiencies, and promoting transparency and accountability.

“TNVS driver-beneficiaries may withdraw their subsidies via GCash from any Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) nationwide or use the funds to pay for physical and online transactions,” the department said.

“They may also use GCash to pay bills to over 70,000 merchants and billers, buy airtime load, and easily transfer money to other GCash account owners or bank accounts from over 40 financial institutions nationwide,” it added.

The development comes ahead of the distribution of the second tranche of SAP payout.

This also comes after Senator Grace Poe urged the government to tap online cash transfer systems to expedite the distribution of cash subsidy to driver-beneficiaries.

The DSWD vowed to continue to explore more efficient and expeditious means to ensure the provision of needed assistance to low-income families assessed to be most affected by the implementation of the community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expect longer queues at MRT-3 under the new normal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2020

The Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) has warned its passengers to expect longer queues as they prepare to resume operations under the ‘new normal’.

The management will be implementing strict physical distancing where passengers are required to wear face masks. Senior citizens, pregnant women, and passengers ages 21 and below will not be allowed inside the MRT-3.

Passenger numbers will only be limited to 153 per train and those with high temperature will also not be allowed to enter.

According to MRT-3 Director for Operations Engr. Michael Capati, queues would take longer than an hour.

“They will have to allocate more time in their travel time. Kasi alam naman nila doon sa dati nating “normal”, mahaba ang pila. Matagal silang pumipila, much more dito sa ‘new normal’, mayroon compliance doon sa social distancing, (Because in the previous “normal”, lines were already long. They used to wait in line for hours, much more here in the ‘new normal’, there is compliance to social distancing),” he said.

With this, the MRT-3 management is recommending private companies to consider flexible work schedule to avoid overcrowding, especially during rush hours.

They are also planning to add more trains which include the three Dalian trains that passed in the decommissioning. Capati said there are 15 to 16 operational MRT-3 trains.

“Talgang kailangan mag-deploy ng more trains available (There is a need to deploy more available trains),” he said.

Meanwhile, the LRT-1 and LRT-2 are also preparing to implement new protocols under the ‘new normal’. LRT-2 will limit the number of passengers to 160 per train while LRT-1 will limit the number of passengers to 158. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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