ICYMI: Incentives for cyclists, NLEX Harbor Link update, driver’s license in villages

Other stories include the possible resumption of jeepney, motorcycle-taxi operations
by TopGear.com.ph | Jun 21, 2020
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño, NLEX Corporation, Google Maps, Angkas

How to encourage people to switch to cycling? Grant them incentives

“According to a report by Inquirer.net, at least one member of Congress is pushing for incentives for cyclists to help promote the use of bicycles. This could come in the form of tax incentives or even food credits, the report adds.

“Representative Ronnie Ong of the Ang Probinsyano party list says providing bike riders with incentives will help convince people to keep using bicycles even after the ongoing pandemic comes to an end. The official is calling the current situation a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity for the government to solve two of the country’s biggest problems: pollution and traffic.’

“Ong used the Netherlands, where cyclists are paid to use bicycles, and the United Kingdom, where riders are given a ‘mileage allowance,’ as examples. He acknowledged, though, that these are first world countries and that food vouchers may be a more viable alternative for now.

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“‘Of course, these are rich countries so we could instead provide incentives in the form of food vouchers which can only be used to buy food commodities,’ Ong reportedly said, adding that pushing for a cycling culture could result in a long-term solution to traffic.”

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A new section of NLEX Harbor Link is now open to the public

“The newest section of the NLEX Harbor Link is now open. Drivers traveling between the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Manila’s Port Area are expected to cut down their travel time to just 20 minutes.

“The 2.6km elevated section will expand the NLEX network to the Camanava area and eventually to Mel Lopez Boulevard (formerly R10) in Manila. The section features the new Caloocan interchange (with on- and off-ramps along Grace Park), the new Malabon exit (with an off-ramp on Dagat-Dagatan Avenue), and the new Navotas Interchange (with an off-ramp on North Bay Boulevard South).

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“The NLEX Harbor Link project is part of the EDSA decongestion program ,which is one of the key elements in the administration’s Build, Build, Build program. The DPWH and the NLEX Corporation are now targeting the completion of the new exit ramp toward Navotas Fish Port Complex before the year ends.”

QC residents, LalaJeep is now ready to fulfill your heavy-hauling needs

“Amid the continuing jeepney ban under the general community quarantine, jeepney drivers based in Quezon City finally get a reprieve: Lalamove and the Quezon City local government have launched LalaJeep, to provide a more affordable option especially for businesses that rely on delivery services to transport essential goods.

“LalaJeep will be available on the Lalamove app until August 15, for deliveries within Quezon City. This type of vehicle sits between the motorcycle and the 300kg MPV options on the Lalamove app, with a base fare set at P200. Each succeeding kilometer adds P25 to the delivery charge, and additional stops cost P50 each. The size limit is 7x4x3.5 feet, while the weight limit is 600kg. If the driver has to carry the items (up to a maximum of 50kg), there’s an additional charge of P50. Finally, an additional assistant costs P250.”

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Once and for all, you don’t have to surrender your driver’s license to village guards

“Motorists should have their driver’s license with them as long as they’re behind the wheel. Some homeowners associations, though, will have people believe they’re obligated to surrender their license at the guard house prior to entering a subdivision. This isn’t actually required according to a memo from the Philippine National Police (PNP) circulating online, which we’ve been able to confirm.

“In a recent memorandum released by the PNP, the law enforcement body said that motorists need not surrender their driver’s license in order to enter a private subdivision and that any form of government-issued identification will suffice.

“According to the memo, security guards of private subdivisions and condominiums ‘are not authorized under traffic laws to take custody, even on a temporary basis, the license issued by the LTO [Land Transportation Office].’”

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Around 360 Grab office employees are set to lose their jobs

“In a statement released earlier today, the Grab CEO Anthony Tan announced that around 5% of its office workforce (driver-partners are not affected)—about 360 employees—was being let go, giving the public a clearer idea of just how hard the ride-hailing industry has been hit by the health crisis.

“‘We understand this news will cause anxiety and dread. Please know that we did not come to this decision lightly,’ Tan’s statement reads. ‘We tried everything possible to avoid this but had to accept that the difficult cuts we are making today are required, because millions depend on us for a living in this new normal.’

“Tan attributes the need to cut jobs directly to COVID-19’s effect on its operations, adding the crisis will clearly lead to a recession and that the company is already preparing for its recovery.

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“Tan also assured Grab employees that this will be the only organization-wide layoff for 2020, and shared details of the compensation those affected by the job cuts will receive. The latter includes medical insurance that will last until the end of 2020, as well as the option to keep their company laptops for personal use. You can read more details regarding this, as well as Tan’s statement in full, here.”

Driving out? Waze has released a GCQ update

“During the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Waze made it possible for users to shop for essentials faster by launching region-specific enhancements. Now, the GPS navigation app has been updated further to accommodate the transition of certain areas from ECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ).

“From receiving a notification about the Luzon quarantine every 24 hours, users are also now notified to ‘Drive only if necessary’ and to ‘Stay safe and healthy. Follow local travel guidance and only drive if you must.’

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“If you’re out shopping for essential goods, you can now use the app to locate the nearest store or restaurant offering drive-through and or curbside pickup. Donation centers are also plotted on the map for drivers who want to drop off supplies for the less fortunate during the pandemic.

“Since April, COVID-19 reference laboratories have been added to the navigation app, and to date there are 59 labs logged. Waze promises that its map editors will continue to add more once locations are made available by the Department of Health. Waze has also made its COVID-19 Impact Dashboard available so that governments, academics, and interested individuals can gain insight into local driving trends. You can access the dashboard here.”

The MMDA will soon roll out three-wheeled emergency response vehicles

“The time it takes for the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to respond to road users who figure in accidents or other emergency situations will likely improve in the near future. Trimotors Technology Corporation and JVR Foundation have donated five Bajaj RE units to the agency, and these three-wheelers will be used as ‘immediate response vehicles’ capable of weaving through traffic to reach an accident scene as quickly as possible.

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“This particular three-wheeler is a low-maintenance model powered by a 198.99cc air-cooled single-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a four-speed transmission with reverse mode. It may be reconfigured for different purposes: passenger shuttle, delivery van, mini rolling store, hotel transport vehicle, and so on.

“According to Trimotors, the MMDA’s Bajaj RE units will be fitted with special equipment for emergency response and rescue missions on EDSA.”

Japan has granted our country a loan for infrastructure projects

“The Philippines will receive a $2.35 billion (P117.8 billion) loan from Japan’s aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at low-interest rates for building infrastructure and COVID-19 response.

“On June 16, Department of Finance secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and JICA chief pepresentative in the Philippines Eigo Azukizawa signed two loan agreements: ¥35 billion for the Cebu-Mactan bridge and a four-lane coastal road, and ¥35 billion as additional funds for the Davao City bypass construction.

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“According to Dominguez, the Cebu project is the biggest infrastructure project for the Visayas region under the Build, Build, Build program. The JICA loan will cover three-fourths of the project's P76.4-billion price tag. “‘It will create jobs in the Queen City of the South and dramatically improve movement of goods and people. Through this project, travel time from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to the Cebu port area will be reduced to 27 minutes from the current 44 minutes,’ he said.

“The project is set to start next year and should be completed by 2029.

“The Mindanao project, on the other hand, is a 45.5km bypass road with four lanes. It will help shorten travel between Barangay Sirawan in Toril, Davao City, and Barangay JP Laurel in Panabo City. It takes one hour and 44 minutes via the Maharlika Highway, but with the new road, it will only take 49 minutes, Dominguez said.

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“A 2.3km tunnel will also be included in the project. Travel time between barangays Matina Biao and Waan in Davao City will only take five minutes using the tunnel—an improvement from the usual 44-minute drive along local roads.”

Return of jeepneys on the road? It could happen soon

“Jeepneys may soon ply the roads again as the national government works on the gradual ease of transportation restrictions, the Palace said on June 18, 2020.

“According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, jeepneys may soon ferry passengers again if the vehicles are deemed roadworthy and follow health standards.

“Pinag-aaralan po pero may possibility po,” Roque said in a press briefing. “Maaaring payagan ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang traditional jeepneys provided they are roadworthy.”

“The Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines called on the government to rethink the jeepney ban, as around 90% of drivers have no other source of income.

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“In early June, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it was still reviewing possible routes for jeepneys.”

Will this safety shield allow Angkas to return to operation?

“With thousands of motorcycle-taxi riders wanting to provide transport and make a living amid the COVID-19 crisis, Angkas has showcased a new protective shield design that could help prevent virus transmission between rider and passenger.

George Royeca, the company’s chief transport advocate, presented the design during the Samahang Plaridel media forum. He said the protective shield, which is around three feet high and one foot wide, is made of high-density, lightweight plastic that is firm but bendable. The detachable shield sports flexible handles at the lower portion. The upper part of the shield is made from a transparent material to give the passenger a clear view of the road ahead.

“Angkas was not the first to present such a design in a bid to gain government approval for pillion riding and the resumption of motorcycle-taxi operations. A few weeks ago, Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor III showed his own design, which uses two solid poles and a plastic shield.”

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The TPLEX is almost 100% complete

“According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar, the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway will be officially completed by July 15, 2020. It is expected to cut travel time from Manila to La Union from six hours to just three-and-a-half hours.

“The expressway has been passable for a few years now already, but only up to Pozzorubio in Pangasinan. Once construction completes, the remaining 11.43km section that stretches all the way to Rosario in La Union will also be opened to the public. This final section of TPLEX covers the 4km Sison-Rosario section that was temporarily opened to the public back in December 2019 to help ease traffic along the national highways during the holidays.”

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño, NLEX Corporation, Google Maps, Angkas
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