Sometimes we can’t help but repeat ourselves. October is turning out to be a month for feeling good. And again it isn’t just about the traditional Octoberfest merrymaking. There are lots of good news seemingly breaking every day. In both the public and private sector.
In particular we’ve been hearing of the completion of projects that are expected to have beneficial effects for motorists and commuters, the signing of agreements and contracts to benefit the aforementioned groups as well the general public, authorities easing rules and processes for more and better public transport options, and automotive companies aggressively rolling out new models that should enliven the industry and the economy.
Skyway 3 completion
Sooner than later motorists will be enjoying the benefits of the completion of Skyway 3 that provides a seamless link between the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang himself announced the completion of the Skyway, ahead of schedule by the way even with all the difficuties wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m happy to announce that the whole structure of Skyway 3 is now complete. With this, Skyway 2 in Buendia is now officially extended all the way to the North Luzon Expressway. After many challenges this project faced in previous years, the dream of connecting north and south and providing an alternative to EDSA is now a reality,” Ang said.
It is expected that when the finishing touches to Skyway 3 are done and the link is opened to motorists, “travel from SLEX to NLEX will now only take 20 minutes, from around three hours previously. Magallanes to Balintawak will only take about 15 minutes, Balintawak to NAIA also only 15 minutes, and Valenzuela to Makati in just 10 minutes.”
With eight strategic entry and exit points as it traverses Metro Manila, Skyway 3 is also expected to effectively ease traffic on EDSA and C-5.
Workers will have an easier, or less difficult, time going from home to work and vice versa as the railway system begin to increase capacity, and more PUVs are allowed to operate.
This is part of what the Department of Transportation (DOTr) calls OPLAN AIR (ADD PUVs, routes, trains, INCREASE speed, capacity, REDUCE travel time, headway).
OPLAN AIR implements recommendations for aiding economic recovery proposed by the Economic Development Council (EDC) and approved by President and the Cabinet.
According to DOTr, starting October 19, 2020, the Metro Rail Transit Line – 3 (MRT-3), the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will increase respective maximum passenger capacities to 30 percent and then gradually expand this to 50 percent.
MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael J. Capati said the increased train capacity will benefit big passengers with shorter waiting time and faster travel time.
But Capati assures commuters that MRT-3 “will make sure that as we implement the increased capacity inside the trains, we will also strictly enforce our health and safety protocols for the benefit of our passengers.”
Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Reynaldo Berroya welcomes OPLAN AIR. Said he: “We welcome this new development from the DOTr and we assure compliance. This eased physical distancing rule and increase in train capacity will benefit a greater number of our valued commuters while also supporting the country’s journey towards economic growth and recovery.”
PNR general manager Junn Magno said in complying with OPLAN AIR, the health and safety of commuters and railway emplloyees remain the priority.
“We will comply to the directive, nevertheless we have the health and safety of our passengers as priority. We shall obtain the best possible capacity based on the parameters set utilizing optimal means to isolate passengers. While we aim for economic reintegration through the transportation service we also keep in mind the safety of our passengers and employees,” said Magno.
Railways are expected to obey the “Seven Commandments” for helping stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus:
1) Wear face masks and face shields;
2) No talking and making telephone calls;
3) No eating;
4) Keep PUVs well-ventilated;
5) Conduct of frequent disinfection;
6) No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside the public transportation; and
7) Observe appropriate physical distancing
It’s not only rail systems, but also other modes of public transport that are expected to increase.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade also directed public utility vehicles to be implement the “one-seat apart” rule to increase public transport capacity.
Tugade also ordered DOTr line agencies to “operationalize more public utility vehicle routes and units, and accelerate the implementation of service contracting for buses and jeepneys to accommodate more commuters.”
But that directive came with the edict to still “strictly enforcing health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
Kia Stonic surprise
Kia Philippines continues to wield its “power to surprise.”
In finally formally launching its stylish subcompact crossover, the Stonic, Kia sprang another surprise—extending the huge discounts for early buyers that was to end on October 15.
Said Kia in its press statement on the Stonic’s launch: “As Thanksgiving treat due to the overwhelming numbers generated and as Kia’s way of giving fresh hope as we gradually shift back to normal routines and activities, the introductory price for the new Stonic—which varies from P675,000 for the LX MT, P785,000 for the mid-range automatic (LX AT) and P875,000 for the top-grade EX AT—will be extended until the end of November .”
Also not quite a surprise in this Covid-19 times is the launch of a new Kia virtual showroom.
Kia said the new digital Kia outlet is uniquely-developed to gain better traction for online users that employs backgrounds that depict the environment of the target users, as if they are really out on the road.
The new digital showroom can be accessed by logging on to the Kia website at www.kia.com/ph.
New Fortuner range
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has launched the New Fortuner. Make that new Fortuner range as Toyota announced 10 new Fortuners of different trim, paint job, powertrain or equipment levels.
All on offer to cater to different needs, wants, and budgets.
This is how TMP has made the Fortuner the market segment leader in sales ever since it introduced the mid-sized SUV locally. And Toyota trusts this will again do the same.
The New Fortuner range is headlined by the new LTD variant in 4×4 and 4×2 and comes in an exclusive design, followed by Q and V variants in automatic transmission, and the G variant available in AT and MT.
The Fortuner LTD arrives with a two-tone color black roof color lineup, bolder and sportier front and rear bumper design, machine-cut 18” alloy wheels, split-type LED headlamps and LED front foglamps, sequential turn signal lamps, and the redesigned LED rear combination lamps.
The Q and V variants get LED foglamps and redesigned LED rear combination lamps, and Bi-Beam LED Headlamps with LED Line Guide – Daytime Running Lights.
G variants come with Bi-Beam LED Headlamps with LED DRL.
The LTD and Q variants are powered by the 1GD-FTV engine that generates 204 Ps) max output and 500 Newton-meters of max torque, while the V and G variants have the 2GD-FTV engine that generates 150Ps and 400 Nm of torque.
Prices start at P1.63-million for the G MT variant to P2.414-million for the 2.8L 4×4 LTD AT WP 2-Tone variant.
Big Mitsubishi month
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) had a great September. It sold 5,384 vehicles, a 205 percent increase over August sales.
The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 led sales with 1,873 units sold, followed by the L300 with 1,698 units sold, 391 percent and 253 percent, respectively, over sales in the previous month.
Mitsubishi attributed the large increase in sales to the aggressive “Mitsubishi Rollback” promo that reduced the prices by as much as P207,000 for the Mirage G4 and P106,000 for the L300.
In September, Mitsubishi also sold 899 Xpanders, 656 Stradas, and 25 Pajeros.
“September was a very good month for MMPC. We are truly grateful to our clients who patronized our brand. We would also like to commend our dealer partners who have displayed strong resiliency towards the tough challenge that we are all facing,” said Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, MMPC president and CEO.
“We are all geared to finish the year in high spirits and will continue to create programs that will provide easy ownership and excellent customer experience,” Oshikiri added.
New Honda City coming
Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) will be launching the All-New City on October 22, 2020.
Honda said it is already receiving reservations for the 5th generation City which will arrive with new variant names and new colors.
Expect the launch of the All New Honda City to be streamed on HCPI’s official Facebook page and Youtube channel at 6PM of October 20, 2020.