PNR unveils two new train sets

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 14, 2020   •   771

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.)

MRT-3 to increase train speed starting Oct. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The management of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) on Wednesday announced it will increase train speed to 40 kilometers per hour (kph) starting Thursday, Oct. 1.

In an advisory, the MRT-3 said its passengers can now expect faster travel time and shorter waiting time for train arrival as its trains are set to travel on a speed higher that the current 30kph.

The MRT-3 management said this is a result of the installation of the new long-welded rails (LWRs) in all the MRT-3 stations as part of the massive rehabilitation program of the rail line, which is being implemented by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy from Japan.

The operating speed will gradually increase from 40kph in October to 50kph by November and 60kph by December 2020.

“After being able to increase the number of running trains, our next target is to increase the speed of our trains in the mainline, until it reaches 60kph,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati said.

Despite the implementation of strict community quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, the MRT-3 management said it continued with the massive rehabilitation and rail replacement works.

The MRT-3 management said its rail replacement works was completed in September this year, several months ahead of its scheduled completion in February 2021.

Capati also said they are conducting monthly system check to test the alignment of the new tracks, the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), and signaling and communications to ensure that the trains are safe and secured while traveling along the mainline.

“Even during the implementation of strict community quarantine levels, with the approval of the IATF, we continued with the massive rehabilitation of the MRT-3, which includes replacing all worn out rails with new ones,” Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

“Noong mga nakaraang buwan, naiayos natin ang mga bagon, ang mga aircon, maging ang mga elevator at escalator. Noong isang linggo, nagawa nating magpatakbo ng record-breaking number of trains sa MRT-3. Patunay lamang ‘yan na may Covid o wala, tuloy ang trabaho ng DOTr at ng MRT-3,” he added.

Prior to the completion of installation of the new LWRs, average train speed was 30kph with an average headway between 8.5 to 9 minutes for 20 trains.

“With the improvement on the running speed, waiting time is expected to be shortened to 6.5 to 7 minutes,” the MRT-3 said.

One-meter physical distancing will be observed in public transport — Duterte

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has decided that the one-meter distance between passengers in public transport must be observed, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced Saturday.

“Mananatili po ang one-meter distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,” Roque said through state-run PTV4.

He added though that talking inside public transport vehicles is still not allowed and that the minimum health protocol such as wearing of face masks and face shields shall remain.

“Sasamahan din ng pagsuot ng face mask at face shield,” he said.  “Bawal ang magsalita sa mga pampublikong transportasyon.”

The Palace spokesperson said the president made the decision on Friday night amid opposing opinions of medical experts on the matter..

The Department of Transportation has allowed the public transport system in the country to implement a “reduced physical distancing” policy starting Monday, September 14.

From the previous one-meter physical distancing marker between passengers, it was reduced to .75-meter safe distance.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) said it approved the proposal to provide service to the increasing number of passengers brought about by the reopening of more businesses.

The proposal provide for a further reduction of physical distancing to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.

Read: DOTr reduces physical distancing markers in public transport

A panel of doctors has expressed support for the gradual reduction of physical distancing inside public transportation vehicles.

The medical experts, which include former Department of Health Secretaries Manuel Dayrit and Esperanza Cabral, said that while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends keeping a distance of one meter from other passengers to the extent possible, “it allows for adjustments based on context.”

Read: Group of medical experts back reduced distancing policy in public transport

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, however, said the DOTr released the operational guidelines on reduced physical distancing in public transport without consulting health experts and the Metro Manila local government units. — /mbmf

Pagpapaikli sa distansya ng mga pasahero sa public transport, sinuspindi ng DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philipines – Sinuspindi muna ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) ang pagpapatupad sa polisiya na nagpapaikli sa distansya sa pagitan ng mga pasahero upang mapataas sana ang ridership o bilang ng mga maaaring isakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, balik muna sa one-meter physical distancing ang mga pasahero dahil wala pang pinal na desisyon si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte kaugnay ng isyu.

Ani Roque, inanunsiyo ito ni Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade nang magpulong ang mga miyembro ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ngayong Huwebes.

“Pansamantalang isususpinde po ang implementasyon ng 0.75 [meter] na distancing sa mga pampublikong transportasyon at ibabalik po ito sa sa one meter,” ang wika ni Roque sa isang televised press briefing.

Dagdag pa ng opisyal, pag-aaralan pa ng Pangulo ang isusumiteng ulat ng IATF ukol sa naging talakayan at rekomendasyon hinggil sa polisiya.

Maaari aniyang ilabas ng punong ehekutibo ang kanyang pasya sa isyu sa susunod na linggo.

Sa ilalim ng panuntunan na inilabas ng DOTr noong nakaraang linggo, ang kasalukuyang one-meter distance ng mga pasahero ay paiikliin sana sa 0.75 meters simula Setyembre 14. Muli itong babawasan pagkatapos ng dalawang linggo.

Hati naman ang pananaw ng iba’t ibang sektor sa nasabing polisiya.

May grupo ng mga manggagamot na nagsasabing mapanganib ito sa kalusugan ng publiko sa gitna ng banta ng COVID-19 habang may iba namang pabor na bawasan ang itinatakdang agwat ng physical distancing.

Kabilang sa mga sumusuporta sa polisiyang ito ang dating kalihim ng Department of Health na si Manuel Dayrit.

Ayon kay Dayrit, maaari namang bawasan ang agwat ng mga pasahero sa loob ng pampublikong sasakyan ngunit kailangang matiyak na nasusunod ang mga inilatag na health protocols upang huwag mahawa sa virus.

Kabilang sa health protocols ang pagsusuot ng face masks, face shields at pagbabawal sa pagsasalita at pagkain ng mga pasahero habang nasa biyahe. Dapat rin aniya ay may sapat na bentilasyon ang sasakyan, malinis at bawal sumakay ang mga pasaherong asymptomatic.

“We have to take this as a full package. Hindi lang physical distancing ang issue dito, if you just argue by physical distancing, you’re missing out other interventions that we could use and also we are only doing it sa ating public transport so that our people can move so that the economy can open,” ang wika ni Dayrit.

Ang dating special consultant ng National Task Force na si Dr. Anthony Leachon, tutol naman sa reduced physical distancing sa public transport dahil hindi aniya dapat naisasakripisyo ang health standards sa pagbubukas ng ekonomiya ng bansa.

Hinimok din niya si Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, maging ang medical community, na payuhan si Pangulong Duterte sa mga paraan para sa ligtas na pagpapasigla sa ekonomiya sa kabila ng pandemiya.

 “Finally, it’s the right thing to do. PRRD should be advised by Sec. Duque and the medical community. We can reopen the economy and support public transport without sacrificing health standards especially social distancing measures,” ang pahayag ni Leachon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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