Motoring News

ICYMI: New bill to protect food delivery riders, anti-COVID bus seating, EDSA bike lanes

Here’s what went down this second week of GCQ
PHOTO: Top Gear Philippines, Jez Mar, Drei Laurel, Jerome Ascaño

Can this motorcycle modification ensure social distancing between rider and passenger?

“A day after President Rodrigo Duterte upheld the ban on backriding or pillion riding, Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Jr. revealed an underbone motorcycle specially equipped with a fabricated divider and separate handle grips, both held by two long poles, to allow a rider to take a passenger without fear of being contaminated by the coronavirus.

“Defensor arranged a press conference to show his modified motorbike in an apparent bid to change the government’s position on backriding. To prove that the modification is safe, Defensor personally rode the equipped Honda RS150R,  but only for a briefly around the block. He already submitted the motorcycle design, which he claims to be compliant with physical distancing, to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for approval.”

If passed into law, this new bill will make you think twice about canceling your food delivery order

“House Bill (HB) No. 6958 or the Food and Grocery Delivery Services Protection Act seeks to penalize customers who cancel confirmed orders for food or grocery deliveries when the items have already been paid for by or is in the possession of the rider. Violators will be fined P100,000 and will be imprisoned for six years. They will also be forced to reimburse riders for their expenses, as well as pay the service providers twice the fee of the original transaction.

“The bill also aims to penalize anyone who shames or humiliate riders on any platform—those who do so may face imprisonment of at least six months.

“However, there are a few exemptions stated in the bill: When the customer uses a credit card and the payment shall be credited to the service provider even in the event of a cancellation; when the customer remits to the service provider a pre-condition payment for the cancellation of the order; or when the delivery of items was delayed for at least an hour from the estimated time of arrival and the delay was not caused by the fault or negligence of the rider.

“The bill also mandates customers to submit a valid proof of identity and address or proof of billing upon registration with any delivery service provider, and video calls must be conducted for identification verification purposes.”

The Alabang toll plaza on SLEX southbound has been reopened

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced on June 8 that the Alabang toll plaza on the southbound side of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) had already been reopened.

“‘We want to assure the motoring public and government that the Skyway Extension Project will be finished at the soonest possible time. This is to demonstrate our commitment to continue to improve our facilities and services—no matter what the situation or circumstance is,’ said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.

“The ongoing project will see the Skyway extend further south from Muntinlupa all the way to Susana Heights. It is expected to increase the tollway’s capacity by 4,500 northbound vehicles and 3,000 southbound vehicles per hour. SMC’s original target date of completion for Phase 1 of the project was December 2020.”

LTO’s online portal is in the works

“The LTO has just opened the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) portal on its website. We paid a visit to the portal to explore for ourselves, and were greeted with registration options for both existing license holders and new applicants. Other LTO stakeholders such as MAIRD (Manufacturers, Assemblers, Importers, and Dealers), medical clinics, and driving schools may also conduct their transactions through the website.

“We just can’t confirm which specific transactions will be available here, though, because we weren’t able to find options for any specific service. However, this could simply mean the LTMS portal isn’t fully operational yet. But we can probably expect that it’ll offer basic LTO services such as driver’s license registration and renewal, as well as motor vehicle registration.

“The portal also offers theoretical exams for different types of license holders—student-drivers, non-professional and professional drivers, and conductors.”

Once and for all: No, you don’t need to wear a face mask if you’re driving by yourself

“In a recent message from Department of Transportation (DOTr) assistant secretary Goddes Libiran, she clarified that the LTO’s Memorandum Circular No. 2020-2185, which clearly states that “all drivers and passengers of private and government vehicles must wear face masks at all times,” does not apply to those driving alone inside their cars.

Her statement reads: ‘In order to observe proper health and safety protocols, everyone is enjoined to wear face masks inside their vehicles, whether public or private. But, as clarified by LTO, this does not apply to individuals driving their private vehicles alone. However, if the private individual has passengers with him inside the vehicle, wearing of face masks is mandatory.’”

Loners will like this proposed bus seating configuration to prevent the spread of COVID-19

“In order to comply with guidelines and promote social distancing, companies like Centro Manufacturing have introduced anti-COVID-19 dividers. These are ready-to-install dividers for public utility vehicles. And for the bus lines, Vallacar Transit (Ceres Liner) showcased what its buses will look like once they are back on the road:

In the video above, Vallacar Transit shares what the inside of the bus looks like, a three-row setup with each chair equipped with an acrylic plastic partition.

Get that RFID sticker already—SMC Tollsways is shifting to cashless payments

“Still reluctant to plaster an RFID onto your car? It looks like you might not have a choice in a few of months. SMC has announced that all the tollways it operates will shift to cashless payments by January 2021.

“The shift will be conducted in two phases: Phase one covers Skyway, the NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), and SLEX, and will take effect on October 15, 2020. Phase two, meanwhile, will cover at-grade sections of the three tollways, as well as STAR Tollways and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), and will be implemented sometime in January 2021.

“To help motorists transition to a cashless future, SMC Tollways is offering free installation of RFID for all vehicles. Yes, all vehicles—public utility vehicles, commercial vehicles, and private cars. The ‘RFID to Go’ scheme requires Class 1 vehicles to load a minimum P200 upon installation, while Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles must load the equivalent of the farthest toll.

“RFIDs can be loaded via GCash and JustPay, or online through select banks including Bank of Commerce, Union Bank, Maybank, Chinabank, and BPI.”

Finally, bike-lane construction on EDSA will begin this weekend

“Cyclists, we have some very good news for you: The DOTr and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have agreed to begin constructing protected bike lanes along EDSA. According to a Facebook post by the DOTr, construction of the bike lanes along the nation’s busiest thoroughfare began on June 13, 2020.

“The agency added that the MMDA has already decided to fast-track the construction of bike lanes, and clarified that these will be on the road itself, not on the sidewalks. The MMDA says that the lane will be at least 1.5 meters in width and that the project will be divided into two phases: The interim and long-term. No date of completion has been provided, though.”

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PHOTO: Top Gear Philippines, Jez Mar, Drei Laurel, Jerome Ascaño
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