Motorcycles for public transportation under study by DOTr

Marje Pelayo   •   December 24, 2018   •   2001

(file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has created a technical working group (TWG) to study on the possible legalization of motorcycles for public transportation.

The idea was in consideration of the existing temporary restraining order (TRO) filed against the operation of motorcycle ride-hailing service ‘Angkas’.

The TWG is composed of members from the DOTR, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; Land Transportation Office; the Metropolitan Manila Development Auhtority; and the PNP Highway Patrol Group.

Other members of the group include members from the Senate, the House of Representatives, commuters and road safety advocates, as well as motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organization and members from law schools.

According to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, deliberations on the proposal will prioritize passenger safety as well as the responsibilities of the motorcycle driver in the event of an accident.

In his statement, Tugade sai that the agency “understand that a number of Filipinos patronize motorcycles as public transport.”

“But we should remember that there is a law against this, and the Supreme Court has issued a TRO. The law is the law, and the executive will not be the first to break it. But we at the DOTr know how to listen,” he added.

The DOTr and the LTFRB earlier maintained that under Republic Act 4136, the use of motorcycles for public transportation is prohibited in the Philippines.

As for the ride-hailing company ‘Angkas’, its management has already submitted their comment and is now awaiting the final decision from the Supreme Court as regards their operation. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

Recto asks gov’t to ease transport restrictions, provide more options for workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has urged the government to relax its restrictions on public transportation to serve commuters during the community quarantine.

“You want to restart the economy? Then let PUVs (public utility vehicles) restart their engines,” he said in a statement on Monday.

“There are three important T’s today: tests, trabaho, transportasyon. Screening for coronavirus is no longer a requisite for returning to work. But without a ride, there is no work. And no work, no pay,” he added.

Recto issued the statement a week after a general community quarantine (GCQ) took effect in Metro Manila which allowed more businesses to reopen and more employees to return to their work.

Public transportation operations were also allowed but only with limited routes and capacity to observe physical distancing and other health measures.

“Allowing workplaces to open without providing the people with the means to go there is like telling the President he can now cross the Pasig River from his residence to his office for as long he does not ride any boats,” he said.

“That, today, is the sink-or-swim situation for the nation’s breadwinners,” he added.

Recto appealed to the government to ease the “brutal” lack of transportation by allowing  husband-and-wife to ride a motorcycle in tandem.

“If they share the same bed at night, why can’t they ride a bike together during the day?” he asked.

He also believes that jeepney and UV drivers should be allowed to ply the roads again, subject to health conditions, and called on the government to partly subsidize the seats they are compelled to keep vacant since they are only allowed to operate under reduced capacity.

“And more buses, please, for they are the tickets out of temporary unemployment,” he said.

Recto also said that the establishment of safe bike lanes and mass distribution of bicycles to workers should also be accelerated.

“The Senate-approved bill reauthorizing the Bayanihan Act earmarks P17 billion for bike lanes, sidewalks, bicycles and other things which form the foundation of a national bicycle infrastructure. That amount includes test runs for a “service contracting scheme” for PUVs,” he said.

Other senators have also called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to open more bus routes to alleviate the travel woes of commuters.

The DOTr earlier said it has opened 15 rationalized bus routes in Metro Manila and nearby areas. This is half of the 31 routes that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board planned to open amid the quarantine from the previous 96 routes covering 4,600 buses.

The DOTr also appealed for public understanding as it plans to resume public transport gradually and in two phases to prevent the possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Public transport to resume as Duterte places Metro Manila under GCQ starting June 1

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the relaxing of community quarantine restrictions in the country. 

Starting Monday (June 1), Metro Manila will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) as well as Regions II, III, IV-A, Albay, Pangasinan, and Davao City.

“The NCR will now be placed under the general community quarantine or the GCQ starting June 1. Davao City will remain under GCQ…until we have reviewed the general situation,” the President announced during a meeting on Thursday (May 28).

Once GCQ takes effect, public transportation will be allowed at a limited capacity to include public utility buses, point-to-point buses, transport network vehicle services and taxis. 

Bus-like modern jeeps will also be allowed but not the traditional ones.

These are based on the existing regulations approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on the implementation of community quarantine. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) confirmed that the railway systems in Metro Manila will also resume operations on Monday. 

“Once we go on transition from MECQ to GCQ on the 1st day of transition and it’s put to effect, we can already put into operation our train and rails operation,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The President also expressed confidence that hopefully by September, China will be able to release a vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Itong China hindi ito hambog [China is not being arrogant]. They work and I’m very sure that they will be the first one — one of the countries that would be able to come up with a vaccine,” the President concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Ilang PUV driver, nangangamba sa posibilidad na mahawa ng COVID-19 kapag muling pumasada

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagpahayag ng pangamba ang ilang public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers sa posibilidad na mahawa ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) kapag muli nang pinayagan ang operasyon ng public transport sa Metro Manila.

Ang taxi driver na si Leo Mendoza, aminadong natatakot siyang madapuan ng coronavirus lalo’t airconditioned ang kanyang minamanehong sasakyan.

“Hindi makalabas ang ano ng tao dahil ang air-con paikot-ikot lang sa loob. Kulob ‘yon eh. Mas okay pa siguro kung walang air-con kasi y’ong hangin nakakalabas,” ani Mendoza.

Si Menandro Basillo, isang Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) driver, sinabing dapat nakasuot ng face mask ang mga pasahero kahit nasa loob ng sasakyan bilang proteksyon.

“Mandatory required po namin sa mga pasahero, dapat po naka-mask. ‘Pag hindi po sila naka-mask, automatically po, hindi po namin pasasakayin,” ani Basillo.

Una nang sinabi ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) na maaari nang pumasada ang mga taxi at TNVS sa May 16 basta susunod sa inilatag na “new normal” guidelines.

Nakasaad na guidelines ang “no mask, no ride” policy na ang ibig sabihin ay obligadong magsuot ng face mask ang mga driver, at konduktor at pati na ang mga pasahero.

Limitado lang din ang bilang ng mga pasahero na maaaring pasakayin at dapat ay may nakalagay na barriers sa mga upuan upang matiyak na nasusunod ang physical distancing protocols.

Para sa mga taxi at UV express, tatlong pasahero ang maaaring isakay – isa sa tabi ng driver at dalawa sa likod; sa mga bus at jeep, kalahati lang ng kabuuang kapasidad ng sasakyan ang papayagang isakay habang ang isnag pasahero lang at bawal ang angkas sa mga traysikel.

Hangga’t maaari ay magpatupad rin sila ng sistema upang maiwasan ang pagkakaroon ng anumang physical contact sa mga pasahero kapag naniningil ng pamasahe.

Obligado rin ang PUV drivers na palagiang i-disinfect ang kanilang mga sasakyan.

Una nang nilinaw ng LTFRB na hindi lahat ng mga pampublikong sasakyan at ruta ang papayagang magbalik-operasyon dahil hindi naman lahat ng mga negosyo at empleyado ang papayagang bumalik sa trabaho sa gitna ng COVID-19 quarantine.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ng ride-hailing company na Grab na handa na silang mag-serbisyo sa kanilang mga pasahero.

Ayon sa Grab, magbibigay sila ng face masks sa kanilang partner-drivers at bawat sasakyan ay may nakalagay nang plastic barriers at surface disinfectant.

Sa kabila naman ng safety measures na ito, may ilang PUV driver na mas pipiliin pa ring huwag munang pumasada hangga’t umiiral ang community quarantine sa Metro Manila. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan, Jr.)

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