DOTr ready to defend recommendation to increase PUV passenger capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 26, 2021   •   207

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it is prepared to defend its recommendation to increase passenger capacity in public transportation, road, and rail.

In a statement released on Tuesday (October 26), DOTr Asec. Steve Pastor said the Department has submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) its formal position paper on the increase in passenger capacity for public transport.

“Nakapag-submit na po ang road sector ng formal position paper na i-increase ang seating capacity from 50% na para po sa amin, kung masusunod ang Kagawaran, ay pwedeng maging 100% based on medical literature that is available. At the same time, we are ready to defend our position to IATF this Thursday,” he said.

The recommendation to increase passenger capacity in public transport aims to help drivers and operators amid the pandemic and the continued increase of fuel prices.

The DOTr’s proposed passenger capacity increase in public transport, with a pilot run in Metro Manila, is anchored on the following arguments:

1. Metro Manila is now under Alert Level 3, which allows for more businesses to open, and more people going out, which resulted to greater demand for public transport. Studies have shown that reliance on complete face mask use and partial hand sanitizer use were proven enough to contain three very modest COVID-19 waves while preserving normal bus services. Other studies have also revealed that passengers in the high-risk zones (seats in the same row with an infected passenger and within 3 rows) had moderate but not significantly higher risk, and that “rigid” safe distancing rules are an oversimplification based on outdated science and experiences of past viruses.

2. The livelihood of public transport drivers and operators were severely affected with passenger capacity in public transport maintained at 50%. Increasing passenger capacity will mean a higher revenue for the public transport sector. This will be a welcome development considering the increase in expenses brought by increasing fuel prices.

3. Metro Manila is the ideal place to test the proposal considering that 81.4% of its population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, public utility jeepneys and buses operating in Metro Manila are well-ventilated.

4. The DOTr had also conducted a rapid analysis of available data on COVID-19 cases (7-day average cases per 1 million population) and public transport capacity, which covered 10 countries (Philippine, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Australia, Vietnam, and Malaysia). It was found out that public transport capacity has no significant correlation with the number of COVID-19 cases

5. Evidence also suggest that high vaccination rate prompts an increase in allowed PUV capacity. AAC

DOTr asks Google to include PH bike lane routes in map app

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said it has requested Google to include the country’s bike lane routes in the dashboard of its popular real-time navigation app Google maps.

The DOTr said the inclusion of bike lanes on Google maps will help cyclists on their daily commutes.

“This will be a very good innovation for Google Maps considering that many Filipinos now are riding bikes as their main mode of transportation which brings significant health and environmental benefits especially amid the pandemic,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

Google has yet to approve DOTr’s request but Tugade expressed confidence the tech giant will most likely pursue the suggestion as it is a supporter of active transport.

“We have asked Google to consider this suggestion top priority considering the increasing number of Filipino cyclists. We are confident that we can win their support on this,” said Tugade.

The DOTr said it has already completed its 500-kilometer bike lane network in metropolitan cities across the Philippines.

The bike lane network includes Metro Manila (313.12 kilometers), Metro Cebu (129.47 kilometers), and Metro Davao (54.74 kilometers).

Bike lanes have pavement markings, physical separators, solar-powered road studs, thermoplastic paints, road signages, and bike racks.

The project was funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the DOTr said.

Wearing of face shields in public transport no longer required in areas under alert levels 1 to 3 – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The wearing of face shields in all public transportation will no longer be mandatory in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, 2, and 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Tuesday.

The DOTr made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the following protocols:

  • For areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory;
  • For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units (LGUs) and private establishments are given discretion to mandate the use of face shields; and
  • For areas under Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1, the use of face shields shall be voluntary.

DOTr representative to the IATF-EID and Undersecretary for Administrative Services Artemio Tuazon Jr. said the department will immediately enforce the protocols on the use of face shields.

“In line with the directive issued by the IATF, which was also approved by the Palace, wearing of face shields in areas, where Alerts Level 1, 2 and 3 are in place, is no longer mandatory. It will be voluntary,” Tuazon said in a statement.

To recall, all passengers in any mode of public transportation were required to wear face shields, aside from face masks, effective August 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, despite the lifting of the mandatory use of face shields, the DOTr reminded that public that stringent preventive measures remain in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities.

These include the mandatory wearing of face mask, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and frequent sanitation.

Talking and eating are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation, the DOTr added.

The government lifted the mandatory use of face shields in public areas amid declining cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Listahan ng PUJ drivers at operators na makakakuha ng fuel subsidy, isinasapinal na – LTFRB

Robie de Guzman   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Isinasapinal na ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang listahan ng public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers at operators na kwalipikado sa fuel subsidy program ng pamahalaan.

Ayon kay LTFRB Technical Division Head Joel Bolano, nasa 136,000 ang bilang ng mga benepisyaryo ng programa batay sa inilathala ng Department of Transportation (DOTr)

Ngunit paglilinaw ng opisyal, maaari pang mabago ang listahan ng mga benepisyaryo dahil kasama pa sa naturang bilang ang mga dati nang nakakuha ng bank account card sa ilalim ng pantawid pasada program noong 2018 at 2019.

Ayon kay Bolano, posibleng hindi na aktibo ang ilan sa mga benepisyaryo kaya kailangan pa munang ayusin ang listahan at isama ang ibang tsuper at operator na hindi nakakuha noon ng bank card pati na ang mga bagong operator.

“So, from the 136 (thousand) na iyon, baka yung iba inactive na. So, fina-finalize lang kaya mag-a-adjust talaga iyon. So, may effect iyon doon sa individual na amount,” ang pahayag ng opisyal.

Muli namang paalala ng LTFRB sa PUJ drivers at operators na gagamitin lang ang fuel subsidy para sa pamamasada alinsunod sa nilagdaan nilang kasunduan.

Ibibigay ang card sa mga tsuper upang magamit sa mga gasolinahan kapag kakargahan ng krudo sa kanilang operasyon.

Maaari din namang ang operator ang magpa-gas upang matiyak na walang gagastusin ang driver sa pagkakarga ng krudo.

Babala ng LTFRB, maaaring patawan ng parusa ang mga operator sakaling may paglabag sa programa.

Sa ngayon, patuloy na naghahanda ang LTFRB para sa pagpapatupad ng programa.

“Hopefully, mai-start na natin within this November mairo-rollout na natin iyan kasi ang pagkakaalam ko papasok na yung fund galing sa DBM to DOTr itong week na ito,” ani Bolano.

Ayon sa LTFRB, malalaman sa mga susunod na araw ang halaga ng subsidiyang makukuha ng mga tsuper kapag naisapinal na ang listahan ng mga benepisyaryo. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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