P 110-B transport stimulus plan pushed | Inquirer Business
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P 110-B transport stimulus plan pushed

Contract services, bus-only lanes, bicycle infrastructure needed after lockdown
/ 04:12 AM May 11, 2020

A coalition of mobility advocates is asking lawmakers for a P110-billion stimulus package to support a host of sustainable projects that will help avert an expensive public transportation crisis once strict quarantine measures are lifted.

Move Metro Manila said in a report that spending would include contracting public utility vehicles, walking and bicycle infrastructure and larger investments for dedicated bus lanes and stations in Metro Manila, Cebu and other busy cities.

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It added that the Department of Transportation’s proposal to partially subsidize fuel costs for transport operators “will not be sustainable.”

Annual economic losses in the capital district alone could hit P430 billion, Move Metro Manila said. It said operators could shut down as the COVID-19 regulations cause capacity constraints, longer commute times and eventual job losses.“Move Metro Manila has been analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on the public transport sector and it is staggering. We need to sound the alarm,” said Robert Siy, a sustainable transport expert. “If the government sits back and does nothing, we will see a significant contraction in the public transport sector with profound implications for the rest of the economy,” he added.With the lifting of the lockdown, Move Metro Manila said the second wave of COVID-19 infections was likely while less public transport capacity would lead to more private vehicles on the road.This will hurt public transport operators and commuters. It said companies would be forced to lay off about 298,000 workers in Metro Manila due to mobility issues while half of transport operators would shut down, affecting 107,309 jobs, or a combined economic loss of P206 billion.

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Moreover, commuting times will increase by anywhere from 15 minutes for private vehicles to one hour for public transportation, resulting in economic losses of P224 billion a year.Move Metro Manila said the government should instead pay transport operators serving people in high volume routes. This will cost about P30 billion for six months. It also proposed another P10 billion for 1,600 kilometers of walking and cycling infrastructure, including investments for thousands of bikes and biking racks. INQ

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