“Released by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on January 10, 2020, Memorandum Circular No. 2020-004 states that motorcycles and tricycles, both considered as ‘slow-moving’ vehicles by the agency, shall be restricted to the outer lane of a road stretch for safety reasons. The order is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions to local government units (LGUs) to rid major thoroughfares of tricycles and pedicabs to ensure the safety of all road users.
“In turn, some LGUs apparently passed directives based on their own interpretation of the DILG ordinance, and included the banning of motorcycles from the fast lane. The LGUs, however, failed to specify if this applies only to motorbikes with small-displacement engines, or to big bikes as well.
“While rider groups are still seeking clarification on the DILG’s controversial directive, some LGUs have announced the penalties they will impose on violators. The local government of Angeles City, for example, has set the following penalties for erring motorcycle riders and tricycle drivers: P300 for the first offense, P500 for the second, and P1,000 for the third.”
“Following the announcement that the DOTr-TWG has agreed to continue and further expand the ongoing motorcycle-taxi pilot run, two separate Senate committees have now approved the bill legalizing motorcycles-for-hire as public utility vehicles (PUVs). To be exact, 16 senators signed their approval of the Motorcycles-for-Hire Act.
“Under the bill, which will require further approval in succeeding Senate hearings, motorcycle taxis are classified as PUVs regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). It defines motorcycles-for-hire as two-wheeled motor vehicles that are registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and which ‘[transport] passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and may utilize online ride-hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.’
“As for the specifications, the operating motorcycles must weigh less than 1,000kg, is capable of running north of 50kph, packs an engine with a displacement of no less than 125cc, and has a backbone-type built.”
“During a press conference of the DOTr-TWG, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) general manager Jojo Garcia cited the need to ban the motorcycle taxis from using national roads for safety reasons: ‘Mas maiiwasan ang aksidente kung nasa inner roads lang sila.’
“Since motorcycle taxis ferry passengers, Garcia said they must be treated like tricycles, which are not permitted to ply the country’s circumferential and radial roads, including parts of EDSA and Commonwealth Avenue.
“‘Hindi nga natin pinayagan ang mga tricycle (on national roads), bakit natin papayagan ang mga motorcycle dun?’ asked Garcia.
“The MMDA official did reiterate that his suggestion remains a suggestion until the consolidated Motorcycles-for-Hire Act is finally passed by both Houses of Congress. ‘Rekomendasyon pa lang po naman yan,’ he stressed.”
“Traffic enforcers of the MMDA have intensified their measures against illegal habal-habal operations in different parts of Metro Manila as the agency continues its data gathering during the ongoing motorcycle-taxi pilot run.
“The MMDA is focusing its operations on identified habal-habal terminals. Government authorities have estimated that there are about 200,000 habal-habal riders in Metro Manila alone.
“In a dzBB radio interview, MMDA general manager Jojo Garia also warned riders of Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It to strictly observe traffic rules and regulations. The official claimed that DOTr-TWG has already distributed the master list of accredited riders in the experimental scheme to various agencies—the MMDA, the LTO, the Philippine National Police–Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), and the LTFRB.
“If an Angkas, JoyRide, or Move It rider is apprehended for a traffic violation, his name will be radioed immediately to the MMDA’s Central Command to verify if it is on the list of pilot-run participants. In adition, the DOTr-TWG has deployed ‘mystery passengers’ to ride motorcycle taxis for the purpose of checking whether the rider is an authorized pilot-run participant or not.”
“As part of its efforts to improve its services to motorists, the NLEX Corporation has made a move to upgrade the roadway lights and signage along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). A total of 1,078 interchange and median LED lights from NLEX Balintawak to Tabang will be replaced with brighter lights. Their illumination will increase from 12 lux to 20 lux, to be exact.
“The road signs, on the other hand, are being replaced with larger and more reflective ones for better readability. These are expected to be completed by May 2020.
“‘With over 1,000 brighter lights and more than 600 new signs for installation, we are aiming to clearly, directly, and safely guide motorists to their destinations,’ said NLEX Corporation president and general manager J. Luigi Bautista.”
“The C3-R10 section of the NLEX Harbor Link, as we reported a few weeks back, is set to open in March. Ahead of that, however, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the NLEX Corporation have announced that the Malabon exit of the tollway will be accessible beginning February 21, 2020.
“DPWH and NLEX Corporation officials recently conducted a final inspection of the C3 to Dagat-Dagatan segment, and confirmed that the stretch leading to the Malabon exit will be accessible starting next week.
“Once the C3-R10 stretch of the NLEX Harbor Link is fully operational, travel time between NLEX and the Port Area is expected to be reduced to just 10 minutes.”
PNR accepts delivery of new train sets
“We were treated to some good news in December when the Philippine National Railways (PNR) unveiled six new train coaches acquired from Indonesia. Now, after just a couple of months, the PNR has received new train sets yet again.
“The agency officially pulled the wraps off the new 8100 series trains on February 14, 2020, revealing two sets of four-car trains.
“These DMUs will first need to undergo a 150-hour validation and static test before they become fully operational; for the duration of the testing, the PNR has announced that a limited number of passengers may enjoy free rides. Once deployed, the trains will ply the Tutuban-Alabang route, and each set is expected to ferry about 1,000 passengers per trip.”