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Free rides for commuters

DUE to limited public transportation, different transport groups yesterday offered free rides to commuters during the first day of “new normal” under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.

Lawyer Ariel Inton, founder of Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection (LCSP) said the groups composed of #LABAN TNVS, LCSP and OWTO offered the free rides to commuters at the southbound North EDSA Station of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

The transport groups also took the opportunity during the “Libreng Sakay” to lament the long-delayed financial cash assistance for TNVS drivers and operators, as well as the “selective policy” of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for allowing only few TNVS drivers who can operate during the GCQ.

Meanwhile, the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) has increased the number of trains operating from 15 to 19 sets to accommodate more passengers.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said MRT trains were operating at a speed of up to 40 kph at certain sections of the MRT-3 mainline (between North Avenue and Santolan Stations, and between Buendia and Taft Stations).

He said the increase in the number of operating speed was due to the rail replacement made during the period of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified ECQ (MECQ), and the agreement of Sumitomo and the concurrence of JICA to deploy 3 Dalian train sets to add capacity to MRT-3 during GCQ operations.

“Sa dahilan na nagawa na po natin ang ilan sa mga rail replacement project, mai-experience n’yo na po ang takbo ng ating mga tren sa ilang bahagi ng linya na nasa 40kph, mula sa dating 25 to 30kph,” Secretary Tugade said.

In Pasig, Mayor Vico Sotto said they are promoting the bicycle as an alternative mode of transportation under the “new normal”.

“We’re promoting bicycle riding and other alternative forms of transportation dahil alam po natin kung gaano ka traffic dito sa Pasig ,” Sotto said.

The Pasig City government declared biking as an essential form of transportation in the early days of the Luzon lockdown.

Traffic cones and barriers were placed along the outermost lane of selected streets in the city to serve as a bike lane for cyclists.

The San City local government also set up bike lanes from N. Domingo Street to Ortigas Avenue as part of the Phase 1 of bicycle lane. A proposed 13.80-km expansion lane will also be set up on several streets in the city.

The bike lane will pass through some major facilities and institutions such as the San Juan Medical Center (SJMC), the San Juan City Hall, Greenhills Shopping Center, and near the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

Mayor Francis Zamora said the Phase 1 lanes will be officially launched on World Bicycle Day on Wednesday.

With Arlene Rivera