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Road Sense

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At last, a bill is being filed to give attention to the concerns of commuters — the millions of Filipinos who are also road users and who number more than motorists.

The bill, which cites mobility as a basic human need, aims to bring special government attention to efficient, comfortable and safe travel for commuters with the creation of the Office of Commuter Affairs which will be under the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The bill was filed recently by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep.  Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Tingog Sinirangan partylist Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez as House Bill 5621, or the Magna Carta of Commuters.

According to the authors, the bill will shift government attention from a “car-centric policy and infrastructure to sustainable transport and mobility,” one that will promote the Filipino commuter.

The bill is a pleasant surprise — and one that is needed now — for it highlights the rights of the commuter.

“These rights should range from public transportation services to safe and accessible infrastructure, to clean air during travel and to commuter representation and participation,” the authors said.

At first look, it may seem that the bill is proposing difficult-to-achieve goals, such as mandating that “public transport shall be available within a 500-meter walk from any residence or activity center in a city, and that public transport services are connected to another public service within a 300-meter walk to promote seamless connectivity.”

That may be difficult but it is not impossible to require standards like those for public transport, which by the way, seeks to serve the commuters.

Afterall, as the bill’s authors said: “In all decisions related to the provision of mobility infrastructure and transportation services, the welfare of the commuter shall be the paramount objective.”

Another ideal feature of the bill is a requirement for all public transport vehicles to install electronic vehicle tracking devices and CCTVs that will enable concerned authorities to conduct real-time monitoring of vehicle location, vehicle speed and driver status.

Perhaps a feature in the bill which will please most Filipinos is the proposal to require all government officials to commute to their offices to commute via public transportation — at least once a week. That should give our government leaders, especially the ones who are involved in drafting policies that would guide the engineering, education and enforcement of traffic rules and regulations — and also those who decide on public transportation policies.

The bill also mandates that the “Office of Commuter Affairs shall operate help desks; assist the commuters whenever the safety and efficiency of travel is compromised; conduct education programs on the commuters’ rights and responsibilities; ensure legal assistance; and ensure adequate representation of commuters in any public consultation that will impact on the welfare and interest of commuters.”

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Isuzu Traviz

There’s a new lightweight truck on the road and it promises to deliver the virtues of a good partner for entrepreneurs — fuel efficiency, comfort, durability. It’s called the Isuzu Traviz, and it was launched by Isuzu Philippines Corporation weeks ago to continue its legacy of being a reliable business partner.

IPC President Hajime Koso said the “the All-New Isuzu Traviz answers the major needs of a customer. The Traviz can be the reliable trucks for the ‘last mile’ delivery of items to retail stores or door-to-door deliveries; or a modern Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) as it can be configured with row seats; or a truck for various businesses such as food, cargo, agriculture, construction, and equipment.

The Isuzu Traviz has two variants: the Traviz S (short wheel base), and the Traviz L (long wheel base).

The Traviz is powered by the Euro 4-rated 4JA1 2.5-liter Direct Injection Common Rail Blue Power diesel engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission (the same engine used in the popular, durable and reliable Crosswind AUV). The all-new Isuzu Traviz is rated to carry up to 1.6-ton pay load the heaviest in the lightweight truck category.

Drivers can easily maneuver in tight spaces with its 4.5-meter turning radius. The cabin has wider space for better legroom and for a more ergonomic and comfortable driving position.

By Pinky Concha Colmenares

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