PH to use cashless payment system in taxis to further curb COVID-19 spread – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020   •   698

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it is working on forging partnerships with various digital payment providers for the implementation of cashless or contactless transactions in taxis and Transport Network Service Vehicles (TNVS) as part of the “new normal” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the DOTr said it has tapped payment platforms to help equip taxis and TNVS with scan-to-pay systems to limit direct physical contact between drivers and passengers, thus further curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Taxis and Transport Network Companies (TNC) are allowed to operate in areas placed under general community quarantine at reduced capacity and with strict health and safety protocols.

“Cashless and contactless payment scheme will now be part of the ‘new normal’ in the public transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The DOTr said one of the first to tie-up with the government for this purpose is GCash.

Under the partnership, GCash will help enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the Scan To Pay app where GCash users only need to scan the unique QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares.

GCash is also offering the GCash PowerPay+ solution to taxi operators where they can send out salaries, allowances, and commissions through to their employees, or members nationwide, the DOTr said.

“GCash strongly supports the government’s call for the use of mobile payments to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said.

Authorities are also in talks with other payment platforms PayMaya, Squidpay and Beep, among others, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said in the same statement.

“We had consultations with these providers over the weekend. We are encouraging these digital payment providers to partner with taxi operators and TNCs to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread,” LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said.

“On the part of the TNCs such as Hirna, Grab and Owto, they are already accepting cashless transactions,” he added.

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

Traditional jeepneys back on Metro Manila roads July 3

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines  — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has finally given traditional jeepneys the green light to partially resume operations in Metro Manila starting Friday (July 3).

Under LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2020-026, traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJ) will be allowed in 49 selected routes in the National Capital Region (NCR) throughout implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ). 

Each unit will have a corresponding QR code on display in lieu of a special permit. 

Operators are advised to secure said QR Code through the LTFRB website at www.ltfrb.gov.ph.

Only PUJS that are registered ‘roadworthy’ and with valid Personal Passenger Insurance Policy will be allowed to operate.

Likewise, no fare increase will be applied unless approved by the Board and the existing fare of P9.00 for the first four kilometers and P1.50 for succeeding kilometer(s) should be followed. 

Drivers and operators are still required to comply with a series of health safety measures, such as checking of body temperature, wearing masks and gloves at all times, and operating at a maximum of 50% capacity to make sure physical distancing is observed. 

A fare dropbox is encouraged to limit personal contact with passengers. 

Also, passengers are required to fill out passenger contact forms for contact tracing purposes and should wear masks at all times.

LIST of approved PUJ routes starting July 3:

  • T102 Camarin – Novaliches;
  • T103 Karuhatan – Ugong;
  • T104 Malabon – Monumento via Letre;
  • T105 Malabon (TP) – Navotas (TP);
  • T107 Monumento – Navotas via Letre;
  • T205 Cubao – Proj. 4 via JP Rizal;
  • T206 Cubao – San Juan via N. Domingo;
  • T208 IBP Road – Lupang Pangako via Gravel Pit Road;
  • T209 Marikina – Pasig;
  • T210 Pantranco – Proj. 2 & 3 via Kamuning;
  • T211 Proj. 2 & 3 – Q Mart;
  • T212 Sucat-Highway – Bagumbayan;
  • T213 Ayala – Pateros via JP Rizal;
  • T215 Marikina – Pateros via Pasig;
  • T301 A. Boni – A. Mabini via 10th Ave.;
  • T302 A. Bonifacio – D Tuazon/E. Rodriguez Ave.;
  • T303 A. Rivera – Raon via Severino Reyes;
  • T305 Ayala – Mantrade via Pasong Tamo;
  • T306 Ayala – Washington;
  • T309 Balic-Balic – Quiapo via Lepanto;
  • T310 Balic-Balic – Bustillos via G. Tuazon;
  • T311 Balic-Balic – Espana/M. Dela Fuente;
  • T312 Balintawak – Frisco;
  • T313 Balut – Blumentritt;
  • T314 Blumentritt – North Harbor via Divisoria;
  • T316 Boni – Kalentong JRC via Boni Avenue;
  • T317 Dian – Libertad;
  • T318 Divisoria – Gastambide via Morayta;
  • T320 Divisoria – Pier North via Plaza Moriones;
  • T321 Divisoria – Quiapo via Evangelista;
  • T322 Evangelista – Libertad;
  • T323 Divisoria – Velasquez;
  • T324 Guadalupe Market – L. Guinto via Pasig Line;
  • T326 L. Guinto – Sta. Ana;
  • T327 Herbosa/Pritil – P. Guevarra via Tayuman;
  • T328 Kalentong/JRC – P. Victorino via P. Cruz;
  • T330 Divisoria – Sta. Cruz via San Nicolas;
  • T331 Kayamanan C – PRC via Pasong Tamo;
  • T332 L. Guinto – Zobel Roxas via Paco;
  • T333 Lardizabal – Rizal Ave. via M. Dela Fuente;
  • T334 Lealtad – Quiapo (Barbosa) via Lepanto;
  • T335 Kalentong/JRC – Libertad (Mandaluyong) Nueve de Pebrero;
  • T336 Kalentong/JRC – Namayan via Vergara;
  • T338 North Harbor – Quiapo via Evangelista;
  • T340 P. Faura – San Andres;
  • T343 Quezon Ave. – Sta. Mesa Market via Araneta Avenue;
  • T344 Crame – San Juan via Pinaglabanan;
  • T401 Alabang – Sucat via M.L. Quezon; and
  • T402 Soldiers Hill (Phase IV) – Talon via Alvarez

Duterte tells DOTr to put more seats at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte expressed concern over the plight of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) crowding the premises of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

He has ordered Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to provide additional resting areas and chairs for waiting passengers.

In the past weeks, thousands of LSIs flocked the premises of NAIA hoping for their flights to proceed.

“Walang maupuan. Iilan lang ang upuan. Kapag may flights nagpatong-patong, ang iba nakatindig. What’s really worse is that mayroong restaurant sa labas na malaki,” the President told Tugade during the late night briefing on Tuesday (June 30).

(There are not enough seats. When there are flights, people would crowd and some are forced to stand. The worst part is, there’s a huge restaurant outside.)

Paalisin mo ang restaurant. Lagyan ng upuan kasi ang mga buntis, mga bata, walang upuan,” he added.

(Remove the restaurant. Put more seats because pregnant women and children have nowhere to sit.)

Meanwhile, the President asked Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to provide for the needs of LSIs outside the airport premises. 

Gather all na naghihintay ng walang matulugan, walang matirhan at nandiyan sa labas ng NAIA,” he told Año.

(Gather all those who have no place to stay and are just staying outside of NAIA.)

“You will be transported to a place. I will pay. Just bill me [including food],” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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