HOV lane on EDSA to be implemented by the MMDA, dry run starts Dec.11

Zen Estacio, writing for Yugatech;

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has announced that a new traffic scheme will be implemented along EDSA. The fifth or left most lane on Edsa will be reserved for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) or vehicles with two or more passengers.

Just in time for the holiday rush! Hopefully this will encourage carpooling!

Volvo Cars to supply Uber with up to 24,000 self-driving cars

Niklas Pollard, Heather Somerville, writing for Reuters;

Uber plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, marking the transition of the U.S. firm from an app used to summon a taxi to the owner and operator of a fleet of cars.

Volvo XC90 from volvocars.com

From Volvo’s website, the base model XC90 T5 FWD Momentum have a $49,240 MSRP, while the top of the line 2018 XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid eAWD R-Design will have a $70,540 MSRP.

That’s more than $1.2 Billion in sales for Volvo in a span of 3 years (between 2019 and 2021).

Taxi driver attacks passenger who insisted on using meter

Margaret Claire Layug/JST, writing for GMA News;

A taxi driver was caught on camera hitting his passenger after a dispute over the use of the cab’s meter.

Michael Benitez was able to film his attacker with his cellphone right before he hit him in the face, as seen in a “24 Oras” report by Susan Enriquez on Friday.

One more reason why ride-sharing is thriving and fast becoming the preferred mode of transportation for Metro Manila commuters.

Makati City and LTFRB shuts down “Angkas”

Makati City Government and the Land Transportation and Franchising Board (LTFRB) has closed down Angkas, a professional on-demand motorcycle taxi service, because the firm have been operating without a valid Business Permit and its drivers have been involved in a number of traffic accidents.

Here’s official announcement;

Angkas on the other hand released a statement regarding their closure.

It’s always sad to see a company, with potential, shut down because of mis-management.

PLDT to provide Wi-Fi to over 2,300 buses by end-2017

Chrisee Dela Paz, reporting for Rappler;

MANILA, Philippines – More than 2,300 public transport buses in the country are getting some technological upgrades: Wi-Fi connectivity, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, and vehicle trackers.

PLDT Incorporated said in a statement on Sunday, October 1, that its corporate business unit PLDT Enterprise has partnered with the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) to provide these upgrades to the group’s members.

The article did not mention if the wifi access will be free to commuters.

And;

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade last month signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a P1.5-billion loan facility for PUV cooperatives with Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairman Alberto Romulo to jumpstart the PUV modernization program.

Since DBP will provide the P1.5-billion loan facility for PUV cooperatives for the installations of these technological upgrades, commuters will most likely shoulder bulk of the loan.

King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

Arab News;

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive in the Kingdom, in the latest move in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the country.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The decree may seem trivial but think about this, Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are prohibited to drive or like at least not give a driver’s license.

I’m placing the link from SPA regarding the decree.

DOST set to deploy hybrid electric road train in General Santos City

Newsbytes Ph;

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said General Santos City in Mindanao is set to test-run the Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT) developed by Filipino engineers from the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC).

The 40-meter long road train is expected to hit the highways of GenSan this October. It successfully concluded its trial run in Cebu City last February 2017.

The train consists of five interlinked air-conditioned coaches that can hold up to 240 passengers per trip and is expected to provide technological solutions to urban transport concerns like traffic congestion of which General Santos City is currently facing.

It is mainly designed for roads and not for rails thus the Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT) only run a maximum speed of 50kph.

LTFRB wants taxi fares at par with Uber rates

Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez, reporting for GMA News;

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has “unanimously agreed” to increase taxi fares, making it “at par” with the rates of transport network company Uber, Chairman Martin Delgra III said Wednedsay.

It appears that LTFRB totally miss the point as to why commuters are favoring Uber and TNVS (transport network vehicle services), taxi in Metro Manila obviously lower than the rate of Uber but people still prefer Uber over taxis, heck I prefer Uber over taxis.

It more about the overall service that TNVS provides to its riders, the friendly drivers, convenience in booking and most of all they don’t refuse any commuters/riders.

Chairman Martin Delgra III added, an increase in taxi fares would hopefully solve the problem of “underutilization” of cabs.

Good luck with that!

UberFlash and UberTaxi launch in Malaysia

Leighton Cosseboom, writing for Tech in Asia;

Uber Malaysia introduced two new services today, UberFlash and UberTaxi, aiming to make it easier for Malaysians to use the ride-hailing app.

With UberTaxi, Malaysian taxi cabs will be available upon request via Uber. Meanwhile, UberFlash will connect riders to the driver closest to them, whether that is a private UberX car or a taxi on the e-hailing network.

Uber is launching these services inside Grab’s own backyard.

You can read Uber’s announcement here.

LTFRB: Don’t pick a fight with errant taxi drivers

Jason Tulio, writing for Top Gear Ph;

The LTFRB chief also cited his own recent experience taking four taxis in Metro Manila. While three of them charged him the right amount, one attempted to overcharge him twice, but relented when Delgra insisted on sticking to the meter. He says that the LTFRB will impose stricter penalties on abusive taxi and PUV drivers, along with other initiatives in place to help solve the problem. Your complaints, Delgra says, aren’t falling on deaf ears.

Just “stricter penalties” and “other initiatives”? No suspension of franchise, no Php 5 million fines even after experiencing the problem personally?

If LTFRB slap a Php 1 million fines to the taxi operator, I bet these kind of behavior from taxi drivers will surely disappear, at least from the time being.

Kill animals and destroy property before hurting humans, Germany tells future self-driving cars

Gareth Corfield, reporting for The Register;

Among the proposed rules are:

  • The protection of human life always has top priority. If a situation on the road goes south, and it looks as though an accident is going to happen, the vehicle must save humans from death or injury even if it means wrecking property or mowing down other creatures.
  • If an accident is unavoidable, the self-driving ride must not make any choices over who to save – it can’t wipe out an elderly person to save a kid, for instance. No decisions should be made on age, sex, race, disabilities, and so on; all human lives matter.
  • A surveillance system should be in place – such as a black box – that records the steps leading to an accident so that it’s obvious who was driving at the time and who is therefore at fault: the human behind the wheel, or the computer. The identity of the driver should also be documented. It should be entirely possible to proportion blame accurately, essentially.
  • Drivers should have full control over what personal information is collected from their vehicles. This would basically to stop tech giants taking location data on the down-low to custom advertising, for example.

Not the best title for the article but the propose rules are reasonable enough, specially the part where the car needs to have a surveillance system. This will definitely help the car manufacturer for any lawsuit that they may face.

Win for ride-hailing apps as Indonesia overthrows key transportation rules

Nadine Freischlad, writing for Tech in Asia;

  • Indonesia’s supreme court, the country’s highest judiciary institution, has overthrown key parts of the regulatory framework that affect ride-hailing companies like Uber, Grab, and Go-Jek.
  • 18 paragraphs were ruled to be in conflict (PDF link) with existing laws regulating SMEs and the transportation sector and declared ineffective.

LTFRB could learn a thing or two from Indonesia’s experience. There’s a reason why Uber, Grab and other transport network vehicle services (TNVS) are thriving and that’s where LTFRB is failing the commuting public.

You can read the translated version of the original article here.

MiCab in Manila to launch next month

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

MiCab, a Visayas-based taxi-hailing app, will finally pave its way in Metro Manila next month.

If I were MiCab, I’ll launch the service in Manila this month!

MiCab, a homegrown ride-sharing service. The service “exclusively partner with taxi fleet companies who take pride in their service, putting the value of their vehicles and drivers top of the priority” which means none of that LTFRB-drama.

Their app is available to both iOS and Android users.

Uber rolls out Driver Profiles

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

Basically, the new feature works just by simply tapping the photo of your driver to view his/her profile. From there, you can scroll down to see his/her achievements as well thank you notes from other riders. You can even chat your driver up and leave a thank you note after your ride.

When was the last time you saw the profile of a taxi driver?

This is just a small feature but it has a big effect on the service, which is what taxi operator needs to do. I expect Grab to follow suit or roll-out similar feature, if its not already available.

This Is Our First Look At The Modernized Jeepneys

John Nieves, writing for Unbox;

Around a month ago the Philippine government unveiled plans and schematics for what the Department of Transportation envisions as the future of the jeepney. A few short weeks later, the DOTr shared several photos of the initial designs for what they envision as the future of the iconic jeep.

Here’s the pictures posted by DOTr;



Grab and Uber render LTFRB irrelevant

Joel Ruiz Butuyan, writing for Inquirer.net;

With Grab and Uber, we have private companies that accredit vehicles which follow the responsibilities expected from licensed public transporters, even if most of them don’t have LTFRB franchises.

The LTFRB has become an outright failure in the performance of its government mandate because its licensing scheme amounts to a useless system in protecting the commuting public. Now come two private companies with new systems that have demonstrated rousing success in performing responsibilities which the LTFRB has completely abdicated.

A great read, specially if you are following the Gra, Uber and LTFRB drama.

To summarize, Grab, Uber and other transportation network company (TNC), brought out the shortcomings of both LTFRB and tax operators, which is the lack of infrastructure to moderate/penalize unscrupulous drivers.

We have to remember that Grab, Uber and other transportation network company (TNC) are already self-regulating and penalizes its driver, and reporting a unscrupulous Uber driver, is as easy as sending an email or text message.

LTFRB fines Grab, Uber P5M each for permit violations

Rambo Talabong, reporting for Rappler;

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) imposed a fine of P5 million each on Uber and Grab on Tuesday, July 11, for letting some of their drivers operate without permits.

Not a good news for Grab and Uber drivers.

The LTFRB says the ride-hailing companies should have been closed down because of the violations, but the public interest ‘overrides’ this penalty.

How convenient for taxi operators!

Unless taxi change their attitude and stop being selective, Grab and Uber users will just continue to increase. When getting a taxi, I received at least 3 taxi refusal. Their reason(s) too traffic, too far and asking for a bigger flag-down rate.

Intel buys autonomous vehicle technology firm MobilEye

Daniel Morial, writing for Yugatech;

For $15.3B, Intel agreed to but Israeli autonomous vehicle technology firm MobilEye on Monday to develop driverless systems for automakers. MobilEye is one of the largest players in autonomous vehicle tech and it recently teamed with Intel on BMW’s iNext self-driving platform.

Another major technology company pouring tons of money in autonomous vehicle technology.

UAE’s Zain Group makes strategic investment in MyTaxiIndia

Sainul Abudheen K, reporting for E27;

Gurgaon-based MyTaxiIndia (MTI), an online platform to book outstation taxi and cab rental services in India, has raised strategic investment from UAE-based investment and holding company Zain Group of Companies.

The startup was founded in 2013 by Anshuman Mihir (CEO). MTI is an outstation taxi and cabs service provider, focussed on servicing both one-way taxi and package-based outstation taxi service segments. Its services are available in more than 120 cities across India with 10,000-plus routes, including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agra, Chandigarh, Pune, Manali, and Shimla.

Ola gets $330m from SoftBank, but valuation plummets to $3.5b

DurbaDurba Ghosh, writing for Tech in Asia;

India’s Uber arch-rival Ola has once again won backing from Japan’s SoftBank, with fresh funding of US$330 million, a person familiar with the details of the deal told Tech in Asia.

However, the fresh funding comes at a cost. Ola’s valuation has dropped by more than 30 percent to US$3.5 billion, Business Standard reported today. Ola’s valuation drop is indicative of declining investor confidence in India.

It’s high time for Ola to expand to other markets and not just their home country.

UBE Express

UBE Express is a premium airport bus service is now available for travelers and passengers going to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). UBE Express is owned and operated by Airfreight 2100 Inc.

The DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION and its attached agency, LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING and REGULATORY BOARD has initiated the Airport Bus Service project with the goal of augmenting the current public transport services in our three (3) airport terminals in Metro Manila. This is the direct response to the public clamor for more efficient hassle free and commuter-friendly transport services option for those going to and from the three (3) airport terminals specially now with increasing number of passengers being experience every year.

The DOTC through Department Order 2015-011 and LTFRB through Memorandum Circulars 2015-22 and 2015-23 have detailed the terms and conditions for the Airport Bus Service franchise to be awarded through an open public bidding. The bidding invitation was announced through publication last July 2, 2015. The Airport Bus Service provides for among others several provisions that are considered a total paradigm shift from the way public transport is currently being done.

Other links:
https://booking.ubeexpress.com/