LRT allows folding bicycles on trains
- Rainier Allan Ronda () - November 9, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) has opened the trains of LRT Lines 1 and 2 to bikers with “folding bikes” to promote bimodal transport involving the use of bicycles and trains among people going around Metro Manila.

With the “Bike O2” or Bike-On, Bike-Off project, Melquiades Robles, LRTA administrator, said the Philippines was following the example of more developed countries in the promotion of cleaner and cheaper modes of transportation.

“With all the concerns over the rising price of gas and climate change, we believe that undertaking this project is not only timely but necessary,” Robles told The STAR in an interview yesterday at the launching of the project at the LRT 2’s Cubao-Araneta station.

“We want the motorists of Metro Manila to leave their vehicles at home, grab a foldable bike and ride it to their nearest LRT Line 1 or Line 2 station, and ride our trains to work,” Robles said.

Under their BO2 project, LRTA will allow commuters with folding bikes to bring their units into trains.

With the strategic locations of the stations of both LRT Line 1, which runs from Baclaran in Parañaque City to Monumento in Caloocan City; and LRT Line 2, which runs from Santolan in Pasig City to C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila, Robles said a cyclist with a folding bike only has to ride a shorter route going to his destination.

“They have a faster and cheaper means of going to work or wherever they are going and they also get a healthy exercise,” he said.

Robles added that they have set up “green zones” in each train --the last coach of every train --to accommodate the cyclist-commuter and foldable bike.

He said they will monitor the demand for space in the “green zones” in the next few weeks to determine future expansion of these areas to accommodate more commuters with folding bikes.

Robles said they are also looking into expanding the project by setting up bike parking spaces in certain stations, depending on the success of the initial phase of the BO2 project.

He said he was excited with the project’s implementation, noting that bike and environmentalist groups have rallied behind the LRTA for the project, and have come in as partners.

Enrique Pineda, president of the Firefly Brigade, a group of bikers encouraging other people to take up biking as a means of traveling, expressed total support for the BO2 project.

Bikers and members of the Firefly Brigade, the UP Mountaineers, the Padyak Project Foundation and the Tiklop Society joined Robles and Sen. Pia Cayetano yesterday on a bike-on, bike-off ride with foldable bikes to showcase the BO2 ride concept.

Pineda said that a folding bike costs as low as P3,000 to as high as P50,000 depending on the model and brand.

“You can get one brand-new for as low as P3,000 to P3,500. There are really expensive ones,” he said, adding that one can also get a second-hand folding bike for P1,900 in certain bike shops.

“Bi-modal transportation, riding our bicycles to the LRT, is a simple way of lessening our carbon footprint. Hopefully, with eventual introduction of safe bicycle parking and access of regular bicycles, this project will take off and be an instrumental climate change mitigation tool,” Pineda said.

Robles said he thought of starting the project after observing the rail transport systems in the Philippines’ neighboring developed countries in Asia such as Japan and Singapore and in many countries in Europe where bikes, folding and even regular ones, and their cyclists are allowed by train authorities.

Pineda, for his part, saw the launch as a first step in a laudable project launched by government.

“It is a very important first step. And we’re thankful to the LRTA and administrator Mel Robles for making it,” he said. 

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