Back to the old normal

Perhaps we’re back to the old normal. Back to the days of daily traffic congestion, and the return of undisciplined, discourteous and reckless drivers.

That may be why transport and traffic authorities are back to talking about road safety and the need for strict enforcement of rules.

Representatives from the MMDA, the PNP-HPG, the DOTr, the LTO, and the LTFRB met recently to discuss the rise in the number road accidents.

According to a press statement issued after the interagency meeting, MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said the number of cases of vehicular accidents in the metropolis, particularly concrete-barrier related accidents on EDSA, was cause for alarm.

“It is high time that we reaffirm our commitment to improve road safety and push collaborative efforts on how to discipline erring motorists and drivers,” said Garcia.

The press statement said that at least 618 accidents occurred on EDSA this year with 509 causing damage to property (105 involved concrete barriers).

Citing the Road Crash Statistics in Metro Manila, it said that from January to August of this year, 31,811 road accidents were reported, with 136 fatalities.

“Common causes of barrier-related accidents are driving under the influence of alcohol; physical fatigue, overspeeding, distracted driving, unauthorized use of accessories, and vehicle roadworthiness issues,” it said.

During the meeting, representatives from various government agencies have agreed to intensify anti-drunk driving and anti-distracted driving operations in Metro Manila; suspend/revoke /cancel the driver’s license of drivers with multiple traffic violations; file cases against violators of RA 10913 or Anti-Distracted Driving Act; impose stiffer penalties on drivers involved in accidents with damage to government properties or at least filing of charges; set up strategic checkpoints during curfew hours, and conduct random breath analyser tests on driver.

Closer to normal

Are we really closer to beating and overcoming Covid-19 that it is to safe to begin increasing the passenger capacity of buses, trains, modern PUVs allowed to operate under community quarantine guidelines?

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) apparently believes this to be true.

The IATF has approved the proposal of the Economic Developent Cluster (EDC) and the DOTr “to increase ridership in public transportation by optimizing or reducing the physical distance between commuters.”

In a press statement announcing this new IATF initiative also approved by the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said: “There is a need to safely optimize the carrying capacity of the various public transport modes as Metro Manila and its adjacent areas continue with the transition towards the ‘new normal’ where more workers are expected to return to their re-opened work places and more businesses are expected to resume operations that were stopped during the enforcement of strict quarantine measures.”

The DOTr said that starting Monday, September 14, the physical distancing measure enforced in public transport vehicles will be reduced from 1 meter to .75 meters. After two weeks this will be reduced to .5 meters, and two weeks after that to .3 meters.

The DOTr and the EDC said that health experts were consulted before the proposal was made to allow public transport to increase ridership.

Strict health and safety measures will continue to be strictly enforced. These include “the mandatory wearing of face masks, face shields, and barring passengers from talking or making phone calls while onboard public transport.”

Hilux upgraded

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) appears confident that the upgraded Hilux models it has just launched will help the company continue to rule the pickup market.

“This 2020, the New Toyota Hilux and Toyota Hilux Conquest arrive with an impressive new look that is more rugged and exciting than ever,” said TMP president Atsuhiro Okamoto during the online launch. 

“The new Hilux is designed to meet the tough demands of Filipino drivers and the country’s varying roads. I am confident that the Hilux would once again prove why it is the Philippines’ pickup of choice. Tough on every road, every inch a Hilux,” Okamoto said.

Aside from the cosmetic upgrades, the new top-end Hilux variants are loaded with the latest automotive, safety, and connectivity technologies.

The new Hilux 4×4 variants are powered by 2.8L 1GD-FTV engine which gives 201hp (204ps) max output, 500Nm max torque for the AT variant, and 420Nm max torque for the MT variant with Intelligent Manual Transmission. Meanwhile, the 4×2 Conquest, G, and E variants gets the 2.4L 2GD-FTV engine with 148hp max output, and 400Nm max torque.

Aside from Conquest, G and E grades, TMP continues to offer the Hilux J in 4×4 and 4×2, Cab and Chassis, and FX for its fleet and business partners.

TMP is also introducing the Hilux Cargo — a rear seat-less, windowless, and more affordable variant powered by the same 2GD engine. 

There is a Hilux pickup variant for every need and budget.

Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) has delivered an Outlander PHEV to its first buyer in the country. The Outlander PHEV, a Plug-in Hybrid SUV, was received by Keiichi Matsunaga, general manager of the Manila branch of Mitsubishi Corporation (MC).

MC, a global enterprise that develops and operates businesses with offices and subsidiaries in 90 countries and regions worldwide, has a 20 percent shareholding in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Japan.

“With the initial transaction of Outlander PHEV to Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), MMPC is excited to jumpstart a collaboration between the two companies that is geared to promote environment friendly and self-sustaining technology,” said Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, MMPC president and CEO. 

“As announced in January, we plan to integrate Vehicle to Home (V2H) showcase facilities to some of our pilot dealers. We hope that in the future, we can also collaborate with MC to accelerate introduction of renewable and self-sustaining power supply system to MMPC,” Oshikiri said.

Vehicle to Home (V2H) is power supply system which allows EV/PHEV batteries to restore and supply electricity generated from renewable energy sources to the home.

Stonic reasons

Kia has not yet officially launched the Stonic but it has began pre-selling its stylish subcompact crossover. It cites five reasons for crossover buyers to reserve one now.

1. A looker is always a keeper.

The Stonic is a recipient of various design awards and recognition including iF Design and the Red Dot Design Awards

2. Built to be enjoyed.

It comes with among other fun things, an entertainment package with an eight-inch touchscreen unit compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

3. Uncompromising safety features.

Safety features include Reverse Parking Sensors, Hill Start Assist, and Electronic Stability Control all available in the EX grade.

4. Efficient powertrain.

It is powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with Dual Continuous Variable Valve Timing and paired to either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. 

5. Worry-free ownership.

The Kia Stonic will be offered with a five-year or 160,000-km warranty, as well as 24/7 Roadside Assistance free for five years! 

6. Pricing.

 Prices are P735,000 for the five-speed MT, P835,000 for the 1.4LX six-speed AT, and P925,000 for the 1.4 EX six-speed AT.

Those who reserve a Stonic on or October 15 get a P60,000 discount for the 1.4 LX MT and P50,000 for the 1.4 LX AT and 1.4 EX AT.

RFID ready

The Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) is moving quickly to fully transition to full electronic toll collection in its expressway network and make all tollgates RFID-enabled in time for November 2020 implementation.

During a virtual media briefing, MPTC detailed its “Road to RFID 100%” campaign highlighting the company’s programs to demonstrate its readiness to shift from cash to cashless payments.

Roberto V. Bontia, president and general manager of MPT South Corporation and MPTC’s RFID 100 Task Force Head, said that 75 percent of its expressway lanes are already RFID-enabled.

The Philippine Arena toll plaza, Lawang Bato Northbound Entry, and expansion lanes in Balintawak and Bocaue toll plazas in NLEX have been converted into exclusive RFID lanes. CALAX also opened 100% RFID interchanges in Laguna Boulevard and Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna.

MPTC said the battery-powered Easytrip tags are being phased out and it assured users that remaining Easytrip account balances will be carried over to the new RFID system.

Happy Motoring!!!

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