With the capacity of public transportation still being limited by the general community quarantine (GCQ) rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many residents of Metro Manila and its adjacent areas have started using bicycles as their main mode of transportation.
To further encourage the use of bicycles, and to help commuters easily transfer from one transportation mode to another, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) through its Rail Sector, has started installing bicycle racks at stations of the LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3 and PNR transit lines.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade assures cyclists of convenience in using bicycles as an active transport mode while quarantine measures are being enforced, and at the same time, making sure of their safety on the streets.
“I fully support the establishment of the bike lanes as this active transport mode promotes a healthy lifestyle and clean environment. We will make this protected to ensure the safety of our cyclists. As a form of assistance to them, we have initially installed bike racks in various railway stations in Metro Manila. And this will definitely be replicated in other public transport terminals across the country,” the Transport Chief emphasized.
To recall, the DOTr, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), is fast-tracking the creation of bicycle lanes along EDSA to ensure the safety of cyclists, as well as to maximize road space use.
At the LRT-1 line, bicycle racks where cyclists can properly park their bicycles before getting onboard trains, have been installed at the Central, Libertad stations, EDSA Taft, and soon at Baclaran station. Use of the bike racks is free of charge. Cyclists have to bring their own padlocks. The rail line also has bike racks at its depot for employees.
Meanwhile at the LRT-2, bicycle racks have been installed for use by cyclists at the Legarda, Pureza and V Mapa stations. The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) is also setting up racks at the J. Ruiz, Gilmore, and Betty Go-Belmonte stations.
“The LRTA, under the leadership of Administrator Gen. Rey Berroya, fully supports the efforts of DOTr Sec. Tugade to provide relief for the riding public that uses bicycles to add to their transport mode to reach their areas of work, the bicycle Racks will be available for the remaining stations of Line2 within the next 2 weeks,” LRTA Deputy Administrator Paul Chua said.
Bicycle owners may park their bikes at the bike racks from 5:00 am until 8:00 pm only. However, they can claim their bicycles until the close of operations at 10:00 pm. The use of bike racks is free of charge and can accommodate the bicycles of passengers and LRT-2 employees.
Roving security personnel will conduct periodic foot patrol and ocular inspection of the bicycle rack to check for damage, vandalism, and for added security presence. The LRT-2 management, however, reminds cyclists to make sure that their bikes are secured with their personal padlocks. No personal belongings such as bags or carry-ons should be left with the bicycle while parked at the rack, as the LRTA or its contracted security personnel will not be liable for stolen or damaged bicycles.
Commuters on the MRT-3 line may expect to pedal to stations and park their bikes there before boarding trains, as the line’s management eyes to complete the installation of 34 bike racks at its stations from North Avenue to Taft Avenue for both the northbound and southbound sides. One bike rack can accommodate five bicycles.
Installation of the bike racks at the MRT-3 stations started on June 22, with its North Avenue, Quezon Avenue and GMA Kamuning stations now having one street-level bike rack each on the northbound side.
As with the LRT-1 and LRT-2, the DOTr MRT-3 management also reminds cyclists to be mindful of their bike’s security and to refrain from leaving valuables while using the free bike racks at the stations. The MRT-3 management will not be responsible for any loss or damage. Bike owners can use the free bike racks at the MRT-3 stations during revenue operation hours.
“MRT-3 supports the initiatives of DOTr to provide active modes of transportation, and provide a convenient way of going to their destination. We will continue to add more bike racks in the weeks to come,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Mike Capati said.
For its part, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) has also installed bike racks at its Tutuban station, while installation at other stations is ongoing. Bike parking is for free but cyclists have to provide their own padlock. Claiming of bikes is within operating hours.
“PNR clearly recognizes that bicycles are means of our commuters to cover the last mile, we only wish to lighten the burden of our riders,” PNR General Manager Junn Magno said.
Cyclists are also allowed to bring their folded bicycles inside the train car with a fare from origin to destination equivalent to one person, and subject to disinfection.
22 July 2020