Authorities have eased rules on pillion riding in these times of Covid-19.
The IATF and the NTF, and the Joint Task Force Covid Shield were pilloried in social media — the main venue for public complaints these days — first for not allowing pillion riding at all.
And then for allowing married couples and live-in partners to ride-in-tandem on motorcycles but only with the cumbersome shields or barriers.
The names they were called on social media need not be repeated here but there was reason for complaint and the criticism, especially when those who were supposed to enforce community quarantine protocols and guidelines ignored the rules they strictly imposed on others.
Engineers and other safety experts said the approved barrier designs were unsafe. Others found it funny, to say the least, that couples who shared the same bed needed a barrier between them on motorcycles to be safe against Covid-19.
It should be instructive to note here that some chose to engage authorities without resort to name-calling, publishing position papers or submitting them officially, and even scheduling dialogues to explain their concerns.
But that is water under the bridge now.
Pillion riding is now allowed — without need for shield or barrier — not only for couples but also all in the same household.
APORs or Authorized Persons Outside Residence not from the same household are allowed to ride tandem but with the approved shield.
Of course, there are still restrictions, including the need for helmets with full face visors, and the wearing masks. No habal-habals, etc.
The best take from this is that authorities do listen to criticism, especially when given constructively. Although some say pressure from social media helps. But we’d like to believe reason always prevails.
Even better is that authorities are willing work with concerned stakeholders. A perfect example is the Riders of the Philippines, comprising various motorcycle-riding groups from various parts of the country, expressing interest in assisting in the enforcement of pillion-riding rules.
The Joint Task Force COVID Shield seems happy to have found an ally in the enforcement of the new motorcycle pillion-riding rules.
Transport authorities also listen.
When the EDSA Busway was first proposed and then partially implemented, some questioned the safety of buses letting out passengers right onto traffic in the middle of EDSA.
When public transportation was allowed when Metro Manila went back under general community quarantine protocols, some of the buses plying the EDSA Busway had doors on the left side.
In a press release, the Mega Manila Consortium, one of the two consortiums operating the EDSA Busway route, reported that 3 units from HM Transport Inc., now had left-side and right-side passenger doors.
More buses with doors on both sides will soon be operating at the EDSA Busway.
In the same press statement, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor said the “bus units will better accommodate commuters who will now be using the new loading and unloading bus stops located in the innermost lane of EDSA.”
Pastor added that canopies and lighting fences as well as concrete barriers and steel separators have already been installed in much of EDSA’s median lanes to ensure utmost safety and comfort of bus passengers.
Toyota Motor Philippines has rolled out its first ever hybrid crossover.
It’s called the Corolla Cross Hybrid, one of the variants of Toyota’s latest crossover based on the Corolla.
In bringing in the hybrid variant of the Corolla Cross, Toyota said this is part of its vision for sustainable mobility and to make self-charging hybrid technology more accessible to Filipinos.
Popularizing hybrid technology and making it more accessible is in line with Toyota’s global commitment to push for sustainable mobility as outlined in its Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050.
“Guided by our philosophy of making ever-better cars, Toyota took the best of a trusted model, the Toyota Corolla, and turned it into a sleek and modern crossover,” said TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto during the online launch of the new vehicle.
“The Corolla Cross is designed to move you in comfort and style, whether you’re seeking adventure, doing business, or simply spending time with people you love,” he added.
The hybrid variant is powered by a 1.8-liter engine with Atkinson Cycle designed for the Hybrid system which generates 142 max torque at 3,600 rpm, and an electric motor which helps in providing a 120hp total system max output.
BMW 7 Series Hybrid
Also bringing in a hybrid variant to a much-awaited new model being launched is BMW Philippines.
SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp., the official importer and distributor of BMW, has brought in the New 7-Series in two variants — the 730i and the 745Le.
The new 7-series has been given an extensive design refresh especially to the front apront with its bigger grille, sharply cut countour lines, lower air intakes, and slimmer LED headlights.
The two 7-Series variants made available by SMC Asia Car in the country comes in Pure Excellence trim.
The 730i is powered by a 2 -liter BMW TwinPower four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 265hp and 400Nm of torque.
The new 745Le is BMW’s first Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) in the Philippines and comes with 3-liter Twin-Power six-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor
The BMW 745Le can be driven 55 kilometers only using its electric and offers a combined performance figure of 394hp and 600Nm of torque.
The new 730i sells at Php5,990,000, while the new 745Le sells at Php9,590,000.