Free rides

We’re back to MECQ in NCR-Plus. By now we all know the meaning of these acronyms. Although many still need to be clarified about what this means in terms of who can still go out, and what essential businesses or trades are allowed to operate and in what capacities.

We’ll leave it to others to do the clarifications. What we’ll be looking into are the initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its line agencies to continue to provide safe and adequate transport for the so-called APORs and frontline and health workers.

Some observers are saying the DOTr has been doing a yeoman’s job to provide public transport under ECQ and now MECQ restrictions.

Many point out that the DOTr has maintained the free ride for health workers initiative in the NCR and other parts of the country that started back in March of 2020

In a press statement, the DOTr reports that the initiative has provided free rides to more than 2.2 million health and other essential workers since then until the first week of April.

When the IATF decided to place NCR-plus under ECQ heading into the observance of Holy Week, the DOTr decided to expand the program to include free rides for APORs.

The DOTr reported that the total ridership for the Free Ride for APORs using public utility buses (PUBs) and modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJs) reached 779,307 during the period from March 29 to April 7, 2021.

The DOTr has seen to it that PUV operators participating in the free ride programs are adequately compensated, ensuring the program continues to benefit health workers and now APORs.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered an increase in the kilometer fee rates under the program.  

The DOTr said that for PUBs, the increase is P82.50 from the previous P46.80. For the Modern PUJs, the kilometer fee rate for free rides was increased to P52.50.

Meanwhile, the DOTr is coming down hard on PUVs violating health protocols and capacity restrictions, as well as colorum operators.

One particular case involved colorum PUVs and a truck that also violated health protocols meant to prevent transmission of the contagion. The case, which came to light after going viral on social media, particularly got Tugade incensed to say the least.

The case involved a truck ferrying passengers into the NCR-plus to avoid quarantine checkpoints and colorum vans that took the passenger to destinations within Metro Manila.

The DOTr said the drivers and owner of the truck, as well those of the colorum vans, have already been identified, and the process of penalizing them is underway.

There is a need to come down hard on all colorum operators and violators of health protocols to discourage ther continued operations which are seen to spread the contagion.

There is also a need for the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and deputized law enforcers to intensify operations to catch violators of health protocols and capacity restrictions, as well as colorum operators.

The LTO reports that almost 500 personnel from the Central Office, NCR East and West, Regions 4A and 5 have inspected around 12,000 vehicles in separate operations.

This resulted in the apprehension of 78 vehicles, where 51 were colorum and the rest violated IATF and DOTr health and safety protocols.

Waiting T-Cross

Is the Volkswagen T-Cross worth the wait?

Is it worth getting a reservation early?

These are questions some of those looking to acquire a worthy subcompact SUV are asking themselves.

Volkswagen Philippines continues to tout the merits of the T-Cross, the subcompact SUV making waves globally, particularly in VW’s global hubs in Brazil, China and Germany.

VW has been teasing local buyers with tidbits of information about the T-Cross which it says will soon be joining its local lineup

The latest teaser PR touts the awards and recognitions the T-Cross has garnered from various design and safety institutions in regions where it is distributed.

VW says the T-Cross attained 5-star safety ratings in the European New Car Assessment Program, the Latin NCAP, and the Australian NCAP.

The T-Cross was also named the Best Compact SUV at Business Car Awards 2019 in United Kingdom, the Compact SUV of the Year at the 2020 Continental Tyres Irish Car of the Year in Ireland, the Best “Exterior Volume Brand” at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 in Germany, the Compact SUV of the Year by UOL Carros 2019 and L’Auto Preferita in Brazil, and the Compact Family Car category winner in the 5th annual Consumer Awards in South Africa.

Manufactured in Brazil, China and Germany, the T-Cross is now being distributed in 55 countries. Around 202,000 units of the T-Cross was sold globally in 2019, and 296,00 in 2020.

Virtually Geely

Signs point to community quarantine restrictions cycling from easy to restrictive and back following the rise and fall Covid-19 cases. This makes online marketing all the more important and this is also true for the automotive industry.

Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP) is boosting its online marketing efforts by rolling out virtual showrooms for SGAP-owned dealerships beginning with Geely North Edsa and Geely Makati.

“Geely customers may shop for Geely vehicles in the comfort of their own homes. Now more than ever, we see a growing worldwide trend for online shopping which now includes passenger vehicles,” said SGAP president and CEO Mikihisa Takayama in a press statement.

At the virtual showrooms, Geely customers can take a peek at all Geely models’ exterior and interior with price and specifications; book for a service appointment; apply for car insurance; chat with an online sales agent, make an online transaction for car purchases.

The online links for Geely virtual showrooms are and

Summer Mitsu deals

Auto dealerships in NCR-plus were forced to shutdown at the start of April. But this has not stopped auto makers and distributors from continuing to promote summer deals.

This includes Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporations (MMPC) which has extended its hot promo deals for the Mirage, Mirage G4, Xpander, Montero and Strada, as well the low down payment for the Mitusbishi L300.

Mitsubishi said the Mirage or Mirage G4 can be had for as low as P28,000 pesos all-in down payment; the Xpander for P58,000; the Strada for P128,000; the Montero Sport for P168,000, and the L300 for P88,000.

Happy Motoring!!!

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