Vaccinated APORs to get free LRT2, MRT-3, PNR rides at selected hours

Marje Pelayo   •   August 21, 2021   •   414

MANILA, Philippines — The management of LRT-2, MRT-3, and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will continue to provide vaccinated Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) free rides at selected hours.

Specifically, vaccinated APORs can ride the LRT-2 and PNR trains for free at off-peak hours as services remain limited, according to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade.

Meanwhile, APORs may ride MRT-3 trains for free during the line’s peak hours.

These are the inclusive hours per rail line:

MRT-3 peak hours
– 7AM to 9AM and 5PM to 7PM

LRT-2 off-peak hours
– 5AM to 7AM; 9AM to 5PM; and 7PM to 9PM

PNR off-peak hours
– 10AM to 3PM

Tugade clarified that the limited continuation of the Free Rides for Vaccinated APORs Program will only be during the enforcement of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila which ends on Aug. 31.

He said the free ride program for vaccinated APORs will be later re-evaluated depending on changes in the quarantine status of Metro Manila for possible extension.

“This free ride program aims to encourage more APORs to get vaccinated, especially now that new and more transmissible variants of COVID-19 are emerging,” Tugade added.

Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary reminds APORs to strictly observe physical distancing and other health protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19 while inside public transport vehicles and stations.

Transport groups defer petition for fare hike

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups have announced that they will defer their petition for a P3.00 fare hike.

This was after the House Committee on Transportation convened with the group and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to discuss the said petition seeking an increase in the minimum fare in jeepneys from P9.00 to P12.00.

Pasang Masda President Obet Martin said they have put off their request following the promise from the lawmakers and the DOTr of providing cash subsidy for the transport groups.

“Hindi na namin maitutuloy […] pero naka-pending lang. Naka-file lang kase nakapag-usap na kami sa Congress. […] Nagkasundo na kami tungkol doon sa cash subsidy at tsaka sa fuel subsidy na winu-workout ng DOTr sa mga companies,” Martin said.

He added that their group, the DOTr and the House committee came to an agreement to create a program that will assist the drivers and operators in coming up with measures to alleviate difficulties brought by the increasing prices of petroleum products.

“Ang LTFRB naman gagawa naman sila ng cash subsidy in a form of pasada card. Kami natutuwa na roon. Pag naayos na lahat yan we will withdraw the said petition dahil bibigyan ng subsidy yan as allowance o pasada card malaking tulong na sa amin yun,” Martin said.

In 2018, the government distributed fuel vouchers to jeepney operators and drivers following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Under the law, legitimate transport operators and drivers receive Php5,000 to Php20,000 fuel subsidies.

Meanwhile, transports groups also appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to increase the operation of public utility vehicles to 100 percent capacity.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

DOTr inks deal with Chinese firm for Mindanao Railway project

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday (October 20) signed a  project management consultancy contract for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) with China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co. Ltd. consortium.

“With the signing of the agreement, it [Mindanao Railway Project] is about to be born, it is about to be triggered into reality. That is not the end of our commitment. It is just a small start of our commitment for the Mindanao Railway to come to reality,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The 100-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment is an P82 billion project that will link Davao del Norte, Davao City and Digos City with its eight stations.

“The Mindanao Railway Project, despite the many challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic, the DOTr under the leadership of Sec. Art Tugade, has been consistently pushing to realize after being just a dream for more than half a century. The Mindanao Railway system will unlock opportunities and realize the potential of the people in the land of Mindanao,” said DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan.

The MRP’s first segment is designed to accommodate 122,000 passengers and will reduce travel time between Tagum and Digos from the usual three hours to just one hour.

A China-funded project, the Mindanao rail will be the first train system outside of  Luzon.

“This project is an important part of the Mindanao round-the-island railway. Its planning, construction, and operation play an extremely important role in reducing travel time on the island, accelerating the flow of passengers and goods, and promoting regional economic development,” CRDC Chairman of the Board Mr. Liu Weiqun.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the construction of the MRP will begin in the second quarter of 2022.

The Mindanao Railway Project is expected to help improve inter-island connectivity, generate livelihood and boost the region’s economic development. AAC

House panel approves Motorcycles-for-Hire Act

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Lower House has approved the bill that seeks to legitimize the operation of motorcycle taxis and craft clear regulations that will be applied on the said mode of transportation as well as that of motorcycle delivery services in the country.

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday announced that it has approved the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Act.

The proposed bill which awaits deliberation in the House plenary will give way to the drafting of standard operating procedures as well as penalties to be imposed on violators in the operation of motorcycles for hire.

This will guarantee that riders will own the responsibility of ensuring the safety of their passengers or the products that they will deliver.

Motorcycles to be used in such services must be registered under the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in accordance with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) standards.

No modification or alteration must be done in the original make of the motorcycle except for the installation of a top box and motorcycle bracket.

Motorcycle taxi and delivery riders must possess a professional driver’s license.

Failure to abide by these regulations will render fines and cancelation of licenses of riders or revocation of the franchise of the operator.

House Committee chairman and Samar Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento said the proposed bill will allay concerns of the riders on the changing policies of the government on motorcycle taxis.

“Masayang masaya na after all these years makakamit na rin po natin ang batas–maisabatas na ang pagre-regulate ng motorcycle taxi na alam naman po natin ginagawa na po ng milyon-milyong ating mga kababayan,” said Angkas co-founder and Chief Operations Advocate George Royeca.

He said their group sees this development as a big help to the riding public amid the pandemic.

“Alam mo, we need as many alternative modes of transportation as we can, lalo na ngayong pandemya. Mobility is very, very important. Because of the limitations of the pandemic, I believe na yung open air ventilation is one of the most important or critical aspects,” Royeca said.

The Senate has already approved its version of the bill.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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