Rail sector promotes use of bicycles, installs free-to-use racks at train stations

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020   •   689

MANILA, Philippines — Community quarantine restrictions have limited the mode of transport in the country especially in Metro Manila.

For this reason, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through its rail sector, has started installing bicycle racks at LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3 and Philippine National Railway (PNR) stations to promote the use of bicycles. 

Aside from convenience, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade supports the benefit of bicycle rides to commuters and the environment. 

“I fully support the establishment of the bike lanes as this active transport mode promotes a healthy lifestyle and clean environment. We will make this protected to ensure the safety of our cyclists,” Tugade stressed.

For safety and order, cyclists are reminded of the following rules:

  • Bike racks may be used free of charge.
  • Cyclists should bring their own personal padlocks.
  • Bicycle racks may be used from 5:00AM to 8:00PM only. 
    • LRT-2 – Parked bicycles beyond 8:00PM may still be claimed until the close of operations at 10:00PM.
    • PNR – Claiming of bikes is within operating hours.
  • No personal belongings such as bags or carry-ons should be left with the bicycle while parked at the rack.

Bicycle racks already in operation may be found in the following stations:

LRT-1 line

  • Central
  • Libertad Stations
  • EDSA Taft 

LRT-2 line

  • Legarda station 

MRT-3 line

  • North Avenue
  • Quezon Avenue
  • GMA Kamuning

The DOTr said cyclists are allowed to bring their folded bicycles inside the train car with a fare from origin to destination equivalent to one person, and subject to disinfection.

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Senate panel wants to repeal DOTr order delegating MVIS to private operators

Robie de Guzman   •   February 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday said it has recommended the repeal of the department order and all issuances related to the delegation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private operators.

The panel, headed by Senator Grace Poe, said in its Committee Report No. 184 that the implementation of the MVIS is “flawed” and that the policy is “half-baked.”

“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr DO (Department Order) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended,” the report read.

“While fees have been lowered for now and testing seems to have been made optional, the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it,” it added.

The committee cited in its report various concerns on the implementation of the MVIS.

These include the issues on the legality of the MVIS privatization, lack of consultation and transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and overall incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.

The panel said these issues remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department.

It further recommended that the Senate blue ribbon committee conduct a probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.

“The questionable issuances seem to have created a favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed,” the report stated.

“The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be further investigated by the appropriate committee,” it added.

The panel likewise pointed out in its report that the absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, “almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results.”

“[N]ot only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process,” it added.

The report also emphasized that while “the policy of ensuring only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads is commendable, a half-baked policy is a bad policy.”

Poe earlier asked the DOTr and the LTO to submit the names of the companies and incorporators of the accredited PMVICs.

The committee report said that 12 out of 24 of them do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million, and eight others registered as sole proprietorships contained no information as to their financial standing.

It also pointed out that with only 24 PMVICs currently operational out of 458 originally targeted by the LTO, the unclear noncompulsory status of the MVIS only leads to more confusion for motorists.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the MVIS will no longer be mandatory following criticisms in its implementation.

The Transportation department also announced that PMVIC testing fees were lowered from P1,500 to P600 for private vehicles, and from P600 to P500 for motorcycles. The rate for public utility jeepneys, on the other hand, will remain at P300.

MRT-3 general manager Rodolfo Garcia passes away

Maris Federez   •   February 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Rail Transit-3 General Manager Rodolfo Garcia has passed away, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Wednesday night. He was 77.

On its Twitter post, the DOTr paid tribute to Garcia for his contribution to the improvement of the MRT-3 system.

“The entire DOTr family wishes to condole with the bereaved family of Gen. Garcia. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” the DOTr statement said.

“We acknowledge and highly appreciate Gen. Garcia for sharing his expertise, knowledge, and leadership. We recognize his untiring effort to improve the state of the MRT-3,” it added.

In January, the DOTr said Garcia tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the intensive care unit.

The DOTr added that MRT-3 director for Operations Michael Capati, 36 other office personnel, and six Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries staff also contracted the disease. —/mbmf

Driver, passengers required to wear face mask inside vehicle – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   February 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – All individuals inside a vehicle are required to wear face masks, regardless if they are from the same household, the transportation and health departments said Friday.

In a joint statement, the two agencies said that the wearing of face masks is mandatory when the driver is with passengers inside the vehicle even if they are from the same household.

A driver can only remove his/her face mask if travelling alone.

This is pursuant to the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the two agencies said.

The transportation department said law enforcement agencies are yet to discuss and agree on how to implement the policy as well as the penalties to be imposed for violations.

The DOH-DOTr noted in their joint statement that proper coordination shall be made with and between the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), other law enforcement agencies, and local government traffic offices/units, concerning the proper implementation of this unified and clarified policy, and the imposition of appropriate fines and penalties for violations thereof, in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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