Helplessly hoping

Here’s hoping that by the time this is being read, traditional jeepneys are back on the road. And the drivers who have been begging on the streets for food are back to making a living. As this is being written, it is just a couple of days after transport authorities announced that traditional jeepneys will be allowed to provide public transport starting July 3.

But this was with a number of conditions laid out in Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-026 issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on July 1 detailing guidelines for the operation of traditional PUJs during the period of GCQ in Metro Manila. Only PUJs currently registered as roadworthy with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and with a valid Personal Passenger Insurance Policy may operate.

Qualified PUJ operators and drivers need not apply for a special permit in their old routes. Instead the LTFRB will issue a corresponding QR Code which they can download from the LTFRB website QR Code will have to be displayed on the PUJs allowed back into serving commuters. LTFRB MC 2020-026 also listed the 46 routes where traditional jeepneys will be allowed to operate covering at most 6,002 units.

The LTFRB added that the PUJs are “required to comply with a series of safety measures prior to dispatch and during operations, such as checking of body temperature, wearing masks and gloves at all times, and operating at a maximum of 50 percent capacity, and distributing Passenger Contact Forms.” The LTFRB also pointed out that PUJs must charge passengers the “existing fare of P9 for the first four kilometers and P1.50 for each succeeding kilometer.”

Again, here’s hoping that PUJ drivers do have the means to go online and download the QR Codes and that many are now back on the road, especially those who, shut down by the community quarantine for around five months, were reduced to begging from motorists.

Busway Experiment

Transport authorities tout the EDSA Busway as one of the keys to providing safe and efficient mass transport in the new normal. The EDSA Busway would extend from Monumento in Caloocan City to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) with buses having exclusive use of the innermost lanes of EDSA. No overtaking allowed. No racing for passengers. No waiting for passengers at loading zones. Drivers and conductors would be paid a fixed monthly sum instead of divvying up the total fare collected less the boundary.

That was the plan.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) had been working to set up 36,000 concrete barriers to ensure private vehicles and motorcycles don’t use the lanes set aside for buses, as well as the loading and unloading zones. But until these are delivered and put in place, the MMDA has decided to push through with what it calls an Interim Operation of the EDSA Busway. Around 550 buses are authorized to be part of the EDSA Busway but only 150 units were said to have been deployed in the initial run.

The buses would have exclusive use of the median lanes marked out by barriers on segments of EDSA and would be allowed to pick up and unload passengers curbside only at designated bus stops. The MMDA said buses will be using the curbside stops “until the needed bus stops, including lighting, fences and canopies, are completed, and when the concrete barriers are placed on EDSA’s median lanes.”

“The EDSA Busway aims to significantly cut travel time from Monumento to PITX from the usual 2 to 3 hours because of traffic, to just 45 minutes to 1 hour,” the MMDA said. The MMDA appears to be committed to fully implementing the EDSA Busway even in the face of doubt and misgivings expressed by commuters, and even by some legislators, on whether this would be effective and safe.

One misgiving raised is that the doors of buses would not be on the safe side for disembarking or loading. Another concern is how commuters would safely and conveniently go from sidewalk to busway lane and back. Many are wondering if this will become just another expensive experiment that would soon be discarded like many others in MMDA’s long history of trying to solve EDSA traffic.

Waku-Doki Spirit

Toyota Motor Philippines is keeping the waku-doki spirit alive by holding an online motorsport event, the GR Supra GT Cup Asia-Philippines. Toyota hopes the GR Supra GT Cup Asia-Philippines could somehow replace the excitement of the Vios Racing Festival which it had to scrap this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Because of the current situation, we have decided to postpone VRF this year for safety reasons. The good news is, our waku-doki spirit lives  on. This 2020, we are launching the GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines,” said TMP president Atsuhiro Okamoto, in a statement announcing the online event. “This e-motorsports program will not only continue Toyota’s racing legacy, but will also discover the Philippines’ top e-Sports talents. We are very excited to find them so they can represent the country in our international races,” he added.

The online event is open to gamers 18 years old and above who will race each other using Toyota’s iconic flagship sports car in Gran Turismo on PlayStation in two classes: Promotional Class for novice drivers with no professional e-sports background; and Sporting Class for intermediate and professional e-racers. Winners in these classes will be eligible to represent the country in the GR Supra GT Cup Asia Regional Round participated in by gamers from other Asia-Pacific countries. A Junior Class race for competitors below 18 years old will held but the winners cannot qualify for the regional round in compliance with international rules. Interested players can check out the complete mechanics and register online via

Master Mechanics

AC Motors, the automotive and motorcycle arm of AC Industrials, a unit of Ayala Corporation, has introduced an online aftersales consultation platform called “Master Mechanics.” Available online via e-mail, Facebook and SMS, Master Mechanics makes available to customers of the six AC Motors’ brands — Honda, Isuzu, Volkswagen, KTM, Kia and Maxus — a pool of around 40 veteran after-sales managers and advisors who provide a one-stop after-sales consultation service.

This Master Mechanics pool of after-sales managers and advisors are available to answer customers’ concerns and queries seven days a week, from 7am to 7pm.

Happy Motoring!!!

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