Probe ordered on LRT-2 train crash

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2019   •   1970

Damage from the LRT-2 collision | Photo by Ahya Lopez

MANILA, Philippines – The management of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) has ordered the creation of a fact-finding committee that will investigate the train crash incident on Saturday (May 18).

More than 30 people were injured on Saturday evening after a train parked on the “pocket track” near Anonas Station moved on its own and headed toward the main railways eastbound to Cubao.

The train’s control center noticed the movement of the parked train and immediately notified the approaching train but it was too late for the latter to make a full stop.

Damage from the LRT-2 collision | Courtesy : LRT2 Facebook page

“For unknown reason, which is still the subject of further investigation through a fact-finding which is being instructed by the administrator, gumalaw ang supposedly na sira na tren,” said DOTr’s Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman.

Operations in LRT Line 2 was temporarily suspended for safety check.

It was mid afternoon the next day, Sunday (May 19) when the LRT-2 services resumed.

The LRTA management and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) assured the public that what happened was an isolated case while measures were being set up to prevent a repeat of the incident in the future.

“Kung mababawasan ang mga tumatakbong LRT (trains), natural may epekto iyan,” Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade noted.

(If running trains will be reduced, that surely has an effect.)

“Pero sa ganyang management, titingnan lahat iyan para nang sa ganoon, ang epekto sa operasyon ay hindi unnecessarily wide and deep,” he added.

(With that kind of management, everything will be assessed so that the effects on the operation will not be unnecessarily wide and deep.)

LRTA is expected to issue an official statement on the exact cause of the incident after its investigation. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Sara Duterte urges DOTr to require pre-departure COVID-19 test on airline passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Davao City government is proposing for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to impose a policy requiring airline passengers to undergo a health screening before departure.

In an interview at the Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government has been eyeing to implement this requirement for people flying out of Davao City to ensure that all airline passengers are free from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duterte said they have already proposed this to the DOTr considering that it is more difficult to conduct contact tracing if ever one passenger later turns out positive of the dreaded disease.

She said the screening should be done one to three days before the scheduled flight.

“During sa discussion namo, niingon ang doctor, kung diri ta mag-check ang mahitabo ana kung duna’y positive, mahurot ka-quarantine ang mga airport employees and pati mga airline crew. Nagsulti ang doctor dapat daw ang testing should be done before departure dili upon arrival,” she said.

(During our discussion, the doctor said that if we do the testing here, the worst case scenario is if one will test postive, all airport employees and airline crew will be placed on quarantine. The doctor said that the testing should be done before departure and not upon arrival.)

“So nagsulat mi sa DOTR ug sa national level, nagpadala ta og mga suggestions, nag-ingon ta nga diri sa Davao we will prepare testing before departure, so dapat ang tanang airports ang testing nila is before departure. So kung naa tay makuha nga positive sa mga pasahero, dili na siya makasakay,” she added.

(So we wrote a letter to the DOTr and to the national level, we sent suggestions that here in Davao, we will prepare testing before departure, so it should be done in all airports before departure. So if we find one positive possanger, then he/she ca no longer board the plane.)

Currently, the city only implements testing of passengers arriving via sweeper flights.

Mayor Sara also said that bus and van trips should also be arranged first before allowing commercial flights to resume.

“Nagsulti pud mi nga before i-resume ang commercial flights, ayuson sa ang bus trips ug vans, because kung naa ta’y commercial trips nga moabot ang [mouliay gawas sa Davao City] ma stranded siya sa airport tungod limited ang bus ug vans,” she said. 

(We also informed them that before commercial flights resume, bus and van trips should be fixed first because if we allow commercial flights without transportation outside of Davao City) then they will be stranded here due to limited bus and van trips.)

The city currently allows one bus trip every day and it will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Mabigat na trapiko at hirap sa pagsakay, bumungad sa unang araw ng GCQ sa Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mabigat na daloy ng mga sasakyan sa kahabaan ng EDSA ang bumungad sa mga motorista sa unang araw ng general community quarantine (GCQ) sa Metro Manila.

Ito ay dahil sa bulto ng mga pribadong sasakyan, pampasaherong bus na ginamit sa augmentation program ng Department of Transportation (DOTr), at mga taxi at transport network vehicle service na pinayagan nang bumiyahe sa ilalim ng GCQ.

Nakadagdag rin sa pagsisikip ng trapiko sa kalsada ang pag-arangkada ng point-to-point (P2P) buses, shuttle services ng mga kumpanya at mga bisikleta.

Nagsimula na ring gamitin ngayong araw ng mga pampasaherong bus ang innermost lane ng EDSA.

Pero hindi natapos ang loading at unloading bay areas sa ilalim ng MRT-3 stations kaya apat na istasyon lang muna ang hihintuan ng mga bus upang magsakay at magbaba ng mga pasahero.

Ito ay ang North Avenue station, Quezon Avenue, Ayala at Taft Stations.

Batay sa patakaran ng Inter-Agency Task Force, limitado lang ang bilang ng mga pasaherong maaaring sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan pang masunod ang panuntunan sa physical distancing.

Hindi rin lahat ng ruta ng pampasaherong bus ang pinayagang magbalik-pasada kaya pahirapan ang pagsakay ng mga pasahero.

May ilang pasahero na inabot ng ilang oras sa paghihintay ng masasakyan habang may iba namang naglakad na lang papasok sa trabaho.

Ang construction worker na si Jonathan Suico, madaling araw pa umalis sa Rizal ngunit naglakad rin pagdating sa may EDSA-Shaw Boulevard dahil walang masakyang bus papunta sa kanyang trabaho.

“Pupunta sana dun sa dulo kung may bus, eh ang masama nga eh, wala po eh. Wala pong magagawa po ma’am eh. Maglalakad na lang po,” ani Suico.

Humingi naman ng pang-unawa ang DOTr sa publiko sa limitadong transportasyon.

Ipinaalala rin ng kagawaran na naka-community quarantine pa rin naman ang Metro Manila at hindi pa maaaring lubusang magbalik-operasyon ang sektor ng transportasyon.

“Humihingi rin kami ng inyong pag-iintindi kasi nga ho, ‘wag nating kalimutan na tayo ay quarantine pa rin ho… At ang nangingibabaw po sa pagdating sa kagawaran ng transportasyon, ay ang inyong kalusugan, ang inyong kaligtasan,” ani Transportation Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez sa isang panayam sa UNTV ngayong Lunes.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III na pinag-aaralan na nila ang paglalagay ng bus stops sa Cubao at Ortigas Station kung saan malaki ang bulto ng mga pasahero.

“Nakita natin na full force ngayong araw yung mga bus na binigyan natin ng special permit so tuloy tuloy,” ani Delgra.

Tulad sa mga tren, limitado lang din sa 50-porsyento ng kapasidad ng mga pampublikong sasakyan ang bilang ng mga pasaherong maaaring isakay.

Dapat rin ay nasusunod sa mga ito ang physical distancing at iba pang health protocols upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng coronavirus disease. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspendent Harlene Delgado)

Augmentation buses provided at selected MRT stations for commuters missing train rides

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTR) is mobilizing augmentation bus service for workers and the general public who will not make it on MRT trains due to the expected surge of commuters on the first day of general community quarantine or GCQ in Metro Manila on Monday (June 1).

Starting today, two lanes in EDSA will operate exclusively for augmentation buses, specifically the ones near the MRT stations. 

Initially, the Transportation Department has allowed 90 bus units to operate from June 1 to 15 with limited passenger capacity.

“According to DOTr rail sector, kailangan nila ng 90 buses. Iyan po ang sinabi nilang kakulangan sa transportasyon along the rail line [The DOTr Rail Sector asked for 90 buses. Those are what they need for transport augmentation along the rail lines],” said Atty. Martin Delgra, chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Designated bus stops are also placed under selected MRT stations where these buses may load and unload passengers. 

These bus stops are in MRT north Avenue, MRT Quezon Avenue station, Ayala station and Taft station. 

Ang mangyayari po dito ang mga pasahero po ay ipi-pick up sa North Avenue at Quezon Avenue. Doon na lang po ang magiging drop-off at pick-up points papasok sa special lane na ibinahagi o ibibigay sa buses na ito. Diretso na po iyan,” noted Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago.

Ang babaan na lamang po nila ay ang Ayala Station at ang Taft Station. Pagdating doon lalabas na po doon papunta sa sidewalk para makababa po ang mga commuters,” she added.

Lanes in EDSA will also be reorganized, according to the DOTr, with the outer lanes to be assigned for bicycles and motorbikes while the middle lanes for private vehicles.

Meanwhile, cashless payment is also being encouraged among public transport vehicle owners to avoid direct contact. 

At present, several taxi and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) operators have installed automated collection systems in their respective units. 

The DOTr assured that no fare increase will be allowed for now among mass transport vehicles. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

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