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By Krixia Subingsubing 

To encourage more cyclists to use mass transport, the four major railways in Metro Manila have started installing bicycle racks at selected train stations while those with folding bikes may bring them inside the coaches for a fee, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Wednesday.

The move was meant “to further encourage the use of bikes, and to help commuters easily transfer from one transport mode to another,” it added.

The bicycle racks can be used free of charge during the railway lines’ operating hours. Owners should bring their own locks but the DOTr said that it would deploy roving personnel to keep the bikes safe from thieves or vandals.

Folding bikes, according to the DOTr, may be brought inside train cars “with a fare from origin to destination equivalent to one person and subject to disinfection.”

As of this week, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, both lines of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), and the Philippine National Railways have already installed on-street, five-bike racks in selected stations, with a promise to provide more.

Since the lockdown began in March, several commuters across the metropolis have started using bicycles to get to work after President Duterte suspended all forms of mass transport to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

Complementary

The bike racks would also complement the efforts of DOTr and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to put up bicycle lanes on Edsa.

According to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, he was fully supportive of “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, [and] this will definitely be replicated in other public transport terminals across the country.”

Passengers of the LRT Line 1 can use the bicycle racks at the Central, Libertad and Taft stations while employees can utilize those installed at the LRT depot. The Light Rail Manila Corp., LRT 1’s private operator, said it would install another rack soon at the Baclaran station.

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) which manages the LRT Line 2 has already installed racks at the Legarda station and will put up more at the Pureza, V. Mapa, J. Ruiz, Gilmore and Betty Go-Belmonte stations “within the next two weeks,” according to LRTA deputy administrator Paul Chua.

Parking schedule

Commuters at the LRT Line 2 may park their bikes from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. but these can be claimed until the close of operations at 10 p.m.

Cyclists taking the MRT 3, on the other hand, may use the bike racks on the northbound side of the North Avenue, Quezon Avenue and GMA-Kamuning stations.

The MRT 3 management said it would add 34 more bike racks at all its stations from North Avenue to Taft Avenue.

For its part, the Philippine National Railways has also installed bike racks at its Tutuban station with a goal to add more.

IN PHOTO COURTESY OF DOTR: To protect their bikes, owners should bring their own locks although the Department of Transportation said it would also deploy roving guards to guard against thieves and vandals.