Number coding scheme in Metro Manila remains suspended until June 5

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2020   •   470

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has announced that the number coding scheme in Metro Manila remains suspended until June 5.

The MMDA also clarified that the planned modified number coding scheme will still push through, although the exact date of its implementation is yet to be determined.

The MMDA explained that the new law on traffic still has to go through the legal process before it gets to be published in major newspapers to inform the public of its implementation.

Under the modified number coding scheme, private vehicles may still go on trip even if their car plate numbers are under a certain day-code as long as the passengers on board are not lesser than two.

Medical frontliners are exempted from the scheme.

On the other hand, Makati City will already be implementing the number coding scheme effective Monday, June 1. Vehicles that have two or more passengers will be exempted from the scheme. (with details from Joan Nano) /mbmf

MRT-3 to operate at reduced capacity as COVID-19 cases in depot rose to 127

Maris Federez   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The MRT management will limit the number of trains in operation starting July 6.

This after a number of its personnel tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the total of positive cases to 127, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) advisory said.

Initial report said the 127 cases consist of 124 Sumitomo Depot personnel and 3 MRT-3 Depot personnel who will be placed under mandatory quarantine and medication.

DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said that with the guidance of the IATF-EID and upon the advice of Sumitomo-MHI, MRT-3 will be able to continue operations, with the possibility of reducing capacity or with fewer trains.

“Sumitomo requested to discuss on a day-by-day basis the level of operations that they can sustain as results of the mass swab testing continue to be released. In the meantime, Sumitomo advised that they are able to continue with operations to service MRT-3’s tens of thousands of passengers, although at a reduced level,” said Usec Batan.

“While we try to do our best to keep the same maintenance performance through this week, we would like to discuss with DOTr MRT3 office day by day, how much maintenance level we would be able to keep, in view of the number of COVID-19 infected people,” said Masanori Honda of Sumitomo.

The advisory also said that “to augment MRT-3’s further reduced capacity due to the quarantine of some of its depot personnel, DOTr will be boosting its Bus Augmentation Program and EDSA Busway service, in coordination with the DOTr Road Sector, LTFRB, and MMDA.”

“Per guidance of the IATF-EID, additional measures and precautions will be taken during MRT-3’s reduced operations, including requiring full PPE for stations and depot personnel, limiting movement of depot personnel to their immediate areas of responsibility, increased disinfection activities, and heightened monitoring and screening of symptoms among all personnel,” the advisory further read.

Meanwhile, MRT reminds the public that it will suspend operation on July 4 and 5 to give way to their rail replacement activities. —(with details from Joan Nano) /mbmf

MMDA to probe shuttle bus driver over bus lane violation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will investigate the shuttle bus driver who forcefully entered the bus lane route.

As seen in the CCTV footage, the military escorts accompanying the bus driver took out the concrete barriers in order for the shuttle bus to enter the bus lane.

“Wala naman tayong entry point doon and yet pinilit niyang pumasok. Ginamit pa niya iyong military escorts niya na i-move ang barrier para magkasya siya (We don’t have an entry point there and yet he still attempted to enter. He even had his military escorts to move the barriers for his shuttle bus to fit and get through),” according to MMDA EDSA Traffic Chief Edison ‘Bong’ Nebrija.

The MMDA already issued a ticket for the said violation but Nebrija said they want to conduct further investigation to determine if the shuttle bus driver received any instructions that they can ply through the bus lane.

“Hindi ko alam kung kaninong instruction nila nakuha iyan na pwede sila dyan sa bus way natin. Hindi nga pwede (I don’t know where they got that instruction that they can enter the busway. They are not allowed),” he said.

The MMDA reiterated that bus lanes are only reserved for city buses, and other vehicles are not allowed.

Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force of the National Capital Region will investigate the military escort that moved the concrete barriers. —AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Construction of bike lanes along EDSA to start on June 13

Robie de Guzman   •   June 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The construction of protected bike lanes along EDSA, Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare, will begin on Saturday, June 13, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced Friday.

The DOTr made the announcement following Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade’s meeting with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, led by its chief Danilo Lim on Thursday, June 11.

During the meeting, the DOTr and MMDA agreed to start construction of bike lanes on June 13.

Tugade and Lim also decided to expedite the establishment of the protected bike lanes on the roads and not on sidewalks, as more people are shifting to this active mode of transport amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our goal is to move people while making sure of their safety,” Tugade emphasized.

According to Lim, the bike lane would provide at least 1.5 meters of space for bikers.

The DOTr said the project will be done in two phases: the interim and long term.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier called on local government units to establish bike lanes and create a bike road network for the use of employees who are opting to ride a bicycle going to work amid limited public transportation.

Proposals seeking for the creation of protected bike lanes and emergency pathways as the public transitions to a “new normal” have also been filed in Congress.

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