• DOTC mulls extending PNR special trips to Calamba

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    Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the special coaches trips of Philippine National Railways (PNR) may extend to two more towns of Laguna.

    Abaya said the PNR, led by Joseph Allan Dilay, is now making a study of extending the train trips from Sta. Rosa town to Calamba City, passing through Cabuyao town.

    “I was told by the PNR team that the trips can be extended up to Calamba City,” Abaya said.

    The DOTC earlier said the PNR will operate its special coaches trips starting March 3 in a bid to offer commuters a choice of alternative means of transportation as traffic flow is expected to be heavy in the metropolis within the next months due to the construction of major government infrastructure projects.

    The special coaches will make use of PNR’s first class coaches which were donated by East Japan Railway Co. in 2012. The service will make use of air-conditioned train sets with features to ensure passenger convenience such as fixed seating, on-board comfort rooms, reclining seats, and a lounge section.

    It can accommodate 120 people per trip with a fare ranging from P60 to P90.

    The coaches were first fielded for PNR’s Tutuban to Bicol trips and vice versa which started in March 2012 but were stopped seven months later due to rail safety concerns.

    PNR General Manager Joseph Allan Dilay said the special coach service will run four times a day. The usual Tutuban to Sta. Rosa and vice versa trips are only two — one during the first trip and another during the last trip.

    In between the first and last trips, the trains travel only from Tutuban up to Alabang and back.

    Depending on ridership turnout, the PNR said it will evaluate whether it will be feasible to increase the number of trips further in order to serve more passengers.

    In order to further help in lessening the expected gridlock, the PNR will also extend its commuter rail’s normal operating hours from the current 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., to a longer period of 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

    Currently, the railway’s commuter line serves an average of 65,000 passengers on 70 trips per day. The special coaches trips can accommodate 480 passengers more.

    Abaya also ordered Dilay to make the necessary construction works for the trains’ platforms so they cannot be easily accessed by free loaders and to make sure of passengers safety and comfort while waiting for a ride especially during rainy days.

    Our concern are the platforms because the system has a leak. We need to put up the necessary measures since free loaders can easily take advantage of the situation. We have to adjust the platforms according to the length of the train. That won’t be a big problem),” Abaya added. PNA

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