MONTHLY RECAP | DECEMBER 2020
Efforts underway to operationalize vital infra links between India, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam (CLMV) countries
India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on a ~1,400 km India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway that would link the country with Southeast Asia by land and give a boost to trade, business, health, education and tourism ties among the three countries.
“Our aim is to reach our friends in south-east Asia through the north-eastern frontier of India and in turn achieve development for our people and partners.” Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra, Department for Promotion of Industry
and Internal Trade
Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade said that a project development fund was set up with a corpus of $75 million to promote trade and investments in CLMV countries as well as to help integrate domestic producers and manufacturers in the regional value chains. The two-way trade between India and CLMV countries has increased from $1.1 billion to $14.1 billion in 2019-2020.
The natural resource potential of north-east India and CLMV countries offers unique opportunities for developing an export-oriented economy and that this would enhance investment potential and bring comprehensive industrial development.
Conference talks motorbike emission control in Ho Chi Minh City
The Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Ho Chi Minh City held a conference to collect public feedback on a draft scheme on the pilot control of motorbike emissions in the city.
The scheme was built by the municipal Transport Department following a joint study in partnership with the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers and the Institute of Transport Science and Technology to measure emissions and support maintenance at eight motorbike agents in District 1, District 3, Phu Nhuan and Tan Phu districts since May. The study showed that the city could reduce over 50,000 tonnes of carbon monoxide and 4,400 tonnes of hydrocarbon each year if it can control motorbike emissions.
Under the draft, the implementation of the scheme will be divided into preparatory stage in 2021, pilot stage in 2022-2023, partly implementation in 2024-2025 and full implementation from 2026. Total costs to 2030 are estimated at 24 million US dollars, which will be spent on building 166 inspection stations and a database, among others.
Deputy Director of the municipal Transport Department Bui Hoa An said apart from reducing pollution, the scheme also aims to gradually limit congestion and accidents in the city.
Experts supported the building of the scheme, but noted that the collected statistics for it are not sufficient and reliable enough. They also said solutions proposed by the scheme are not suitable, as they have failed to involve vehicle producers.
Government and private sector mull use of EVs in Laos
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Global Green Growth Institute Laos and other development partners held a meeting titled ‘Private Sector Engagement in Climate Change and Green Growth Series: Promotion of Electric Vehicles’ to raise awareness of the Green Climate Fund, to discuss findings of studies, and to identify opportunities and barriers to the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in Laos.
Global Green Growth Institute Laos Deputy Country Representative, Mr. Christophe Assicot explained the potential impacts of EV adoption in Laos, especially in light of the country’s large supply of renewable electricity.
The use of EV would help enhance Laos’ green credentials and tourism-related businesses stand to benefit. Electric vehicles provide a storage buffer to stabilize the electricity grid through vehicle-to-grid services. The Lao grid requires storage support as it is primarily renewable (hydro) based. The batteries used for EVs can provide grid services to support variable renewable power, while the use of EV can help save foreign currency.
Public transport vouchers worth US$ 11.3m distributed in Singapore
More than 300,000 public transport vouchers worth more than 15 million Singapore dollars (11.3 million US dollars) have been disbursed to low-income households who have been more adversely affected by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each public transport voucher is worth S$50 and they can be used to top up fare cards or buy monthly concession passes.
Eligible households can continue to apply for the public transport vouchers until Jan 31 and all disbursed vouchers must be redeemed by Jun 30 next year. Households are eligible if their monthly household income from all sources per person does not exceed S$1,200.
The vouchers were given out under the extended 2019 Public Transport Vouchers Exercise since its commencement on Nov 11 last year. The public transport voucher letters will be disbursed in two tranches. The first disbursement took place in mid-December, which is for ComCare recipients who were on short-to-medium-term assistance or long-term assistance as of Aug 31 this year. The second tranche will be progressively disbursed from mid-March next year. This will benefit ComCare recipients who were not part of the first tranche and will be on short-to-medium-term assistance or long-term assistance Jan 31 next year.
Singapore may target 100% green transport by 2040
The Singapore Ministry of Transport is considering a review to bring forward its 2040 target for all vehicles in Singapore to be low emission vehicles however several factors need to be considered, including increasing the capacity of the charging infrastructure, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung.
He added that Singapore could also be “more ambitious” about its target of building up 28,000 charging points by 2030. He said that the country should be working toward a minimum ratio of five cars to one charging point instead of the current target ratio of 8:1.
“It should not be a government- initiated, and led, and driven initiative. We should set in place the parameters such that private sector players will come in and find the incentive to build up their infrastructure.”
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung
Minister Ong said the slow take up of electric vehicles is not unexpected, adding that Singapore needs to “build up” its network of charging points. Mr Ong added that private sector players are vital to and “at the core” of Singapore’s electrification plans by helping, among other things, to build the charging infrastructure.
Besides having the right policies to “ride the technology”, Singapore being an “urban, dense city” makes it well placed to embrace electric vehicles.
Indonesia adds biodiesel capacity ahead of B40 mandate
Indonesia will increase biodiesel capacity by 2.2mn kl/yr in the first quarter of 2021 and by 3.6mn kl/yr by the end of next year, Vice Chairman Paulus Tjakrawan of the Indonesian Biofuel Producer Association, said at the Indonesian Palm Oil Conference.
The expansions, which have been delayed from this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will raise capacity from the current 11.6mn kl/yr and pave the way for Indonesia’s domestic biodiesel mandate to rise to B40 from B30. The current B30 mandate requires around 9.6mn kl/yr of biodiesel but B40 is projected to require 12.8mn kl/yr, raising the need for the additional capacity especially given current utilization rates of around 85pc. Indonesia produced 6.47mn kl of biodiesel in January-September, of which 6.33mn kl was consumed domestically.
More work needs to be done before B40 can be implemented, including further tests on whether such a heavy biodiesel mixture can run safely through transportation vehicles, Tjakrawan said. Regardless, Tjakrawan said he hoped B40 could be implemented at the end of next year or in 2022.
Indonesia launches Japan-funded port to boost auto exports
Indonesian President Joko Widodo presided over the soft launching and initial operation of the Japanese-funded Patimban deep sea port which is expected to boost competitiveness of Indonesia’s exports, particularly in the automotive sector.
The new port is located in the east of industrial parks in and around Bekasi Regency, where Japanese automakers and car parts manufacturers are building an industrial cluster. The port has a current capacity for 3.75 million 20-foot-long cargo containers or their equivalent, while its car terminal can accommodate 218,000 completely built-up units (CBUs). Its capacities are expected to increase to 7 million containers and 600,000 CBUs upon the completion of the third phase in 2027.
In November 2017, the Japanese government signed an agreement with Indonesia to finance the first phase of the port development project with a soft loan of ~1.2 billion US dollars).
Philippine government orders 240 train cars for Metro Manila Subway
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) signed a contract amounting to 367 billion pesos (~7.63 billion US dollars) to order 240 train cars for the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) from a Japanese joint venture contractor.
During the ceremony, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said a single train of the MMSP would have a maximum capacity of 2,242 passengers—potentially removing up to 1,300 cars, 220 jeepneys, or 60 buses from Metro Manila roads.
The first phase of the MMSP is a 34-kilometer-long underground railway system running from Valuenzela City to Parañaque City, ending with a connection to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
The partial operability section of the MMSP’s first phase—which includes the construction of the depot and four stations from East Valenzuela to North Avenue—began construction in 2019 and will be operational by 2022. The remaining operability section will begin construction in 2021 and is expected to be operational by 2026.
MONTHLY RECAP | NOVEMBER 2020
Vietnam to pioneer post-pandemic carbon pricing
Vietnam is set to be the first developing country to adopt carbon pricing in the post-pandemic period to help guide a cleaner recovery as they passed the revised Law on Environmental Protection legalising an emission trading scheme to take effect in January 2022.
Through the law, the government will establish a carbon emission trading scheme that suits the local context while complying with the international treaties. The law also enables policies such as national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories, and the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions. Details such as targets, timelines and regulated industries will be specified later in a government decree.
Vietnam’s adoption of carbon pricing will hopefully encourage other countries to commit to reducing greenhouse gases. The post-COVID-19 period is an ideal time to adopt a carbon price, setting foundations for a green recovery. Recent net-zero emission commitments by big emitters such as China, Japan and South Korea — and US plans to re-join the Paris Agreement — creates momentum for long overdue strengthened global mitigation efforts.
Project worth US$ 17.3 b approved to improve public transport in Ho Chi Minh City
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has approved a project worth nearly 400 trillion VND (17.3 billion US dollars) on improving access to public transport and limiting the use of personal vehicles over the next decade, according to the People’s Committee’s Office. Funding will come from the State budget, private investors and official development assistance.
Under the project, public transport is expected to meet 15 percent of residents’ travel demand by 2025, and 25 percent by 2030 by adding 50-75 and doubling the number of buses by 2030.
Priority will be given to developing large capacity public transport, including planned metro routes and bus rapid transit system. Other public transport modes like river buses, public bicycles and electric motorbikes will also be promoted.
The control of personal vehicle usage in the city will have a specific roadmap with consent from residents. After trial runs, cars will be charged a fee to enter the city center, and motorcycle exhaust emissions will be measured. Environmental protection fees will be collected as well.
Thailand Board of Investments approves new EV package
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) approved the roll out of the new and comprehensive set of incentives covering all major aspects of the electric vehicles (EV) supply chain which aims to accelerate the country’s national EV roadmap to produce some 1.2 million EVs by 2036.
The new promotion package replacing the first EV package which expired last 2018, covers a comprehensive range of EVs with focus on battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as summarized below:
- Four wheelers: Qualified projects with a total investment package worth at least five billion baht (~168 million US dollars) will be granted a three-year tax holidays for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), but as for BEVs, an eight-year corporate income tax exemption period will be offered and will be extendable in case of research and development (R&D) investment/expenditures. As for qualified projects with total investment worth less than five billion baht, three-year tax holidays will be granted on PHEVs and BEVs, but the tax holidays period for BEVs can be extended if the project meets the set requirements, such as production commencement by 2022, additional part production, minimum production of 10,000 units within three years, and R&D investment/expenditures.
- Motorcycles, three-wheelers, buses and trucks: Qualified projects will be granted three-year corporate income tax exemption, extendable if meeting additional requirements.
- Electric-powered ship production projects: For vessels with less than 500 gross tonnage, will be eligible for eight years of corporate income tax exemption.
Further, the BOI also approved to add four more categories of EV parts in the list of critical parts which will receive eight years corporate tax exemption; these are high voltage harness, reduction gear, battery cooling system and regenerative braking system. The BOI also approved additional incentives for the production of both battery modules and battery cells for the local market by granting a 90% reduction of import duties for two years on raw or essential materials not available locally.
Bangkok Metropolitan Authority launches electric commuter ferry fleet
Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) launched the first fleet electric commuter ferry fleet in Thailand with the aim to promote clean emissions-free passenger transport in the country. The seven new vessels joined the first test boat, which has been successfully transporting Bangkok residents since 2018.
The transport sector contributes a quarter of Bangkok’s carbon emissions which is higher than the global average. Last year, the and the city’s schools were temporarily closed due to extremely poor air quality. Bangkok was also recently named the world’s most congested city by navigation software company TomTom with an average resident spending more than 64 hours a year in traffic jams.
“This is an important achievement for the city of Bangkok and a key part of our Thailand 4.0 Smart City vision for an integrated clean, green public transportation system including bus, rail and waterways.”
Deputy Managing Director Ekarin Vasanasong, KT BMA
The 30-passenger, zero-emission water taxis are part of a fleet of ferries operated by BMA’s Enterprise Krungthep Thanakom Company (KT BMA). They operate on a five-kilometer route daily, providing a critical transport link between the express ferry on the Chao Praya river, the Saen Saep canal boats and the MRT subway station at Hua Lampjong.
Cambodia’s bicycle exports exceed 1.5 million units
Over 1.5 million units of Cambodian bicycles have been exported to foreign markets by the third quarter of this year, generating nearly US$ 400 million, according to figures from the Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce.
From January to September this year, Cambodia exported half a million bicycles to the US, 360,000 units to Germany, 270,000 units to the UK and 150,000 units to Belgium.
Other main markets for Cambodian bicycles were the Netherlands and Australia with 90,000 and 100,000 units, respectively. Cambodia became the largest bicycle supplier for the European Union market since 2017, overtaking Taiwan, which had held the number one spot for two decades.
Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) to invest US$ 5.1 billion for EV battery manufacturing plant in Indonesia
Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) recently signed an agreement to invest 5.1 billion US dollars to build a manufacturing plant for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Indonesia.
The investment which is expected to break ground in 2021 shows Indonesia’s ambition to become a key player in global green energy supplier is taking shape. Indonesia is betting on its nickel reserve, which accounts for 25 percent of the world’s proven reserve, to support that ambition.
“It all comes down to our nickel. 85 percent of the raw material for the battery comes from Indonesia. So Indonesia must be a key player in renewable energy, especially in the electric battery.”
Head Bahlil Lahadahlia, Investment Coordinating Board
Indonesia is also looking to eventually become a regional hub for manufacturing EVs, starting with a future partnership with Hyundai Motors.
Singapore electric motorbike maker bags US$ 6.3m in funding
Singapore’s smart electric vehicle firm Scorpio Electric said it has secured 6.3 million US dollars in funding to further develop and produce its fully electric motorcycles.
Part of the funding will go to the software and hardware development of Scorpio Electric’s first electric motorcycle`which would include the manufacturing and testing of pre-production builds. It aims to launch the showroom and offer digital pre-sales of its electric motorcycle by the second quarter of 2021.
The company said it plans to invest in the completion of its headquarters and assembly plant at the Teban Gardens area in Singapore, which it expects to produce up to 8,000 motorcycles per year.
Tree planting is now a requirement to acquire transport franchise in Philippines
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will start requiring transport cooperatives, corporations and individual operators with at least 10 public utility vehicles to plant trees before they apply for new franchises or when renewing them.
Upon visit of the Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in Cagayan, which was recently affected by massive flooding, he saw the need for dredging the heavily silted Cagayan River and reforesting the watersheds in the region. The policy was then promulgated nationwide with the target to plant 50,000 trees, in coordination Coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and local government units, within the next three months.
“Imagine, if part of the responsibility in getting a franchise or license from all government offices is to plant trees in areas chosen by the local government and the Department of Natural Resources, we would be helping in this [flooding] problem,”
Secretary Arthur Tugade, Department of Transportation
Some operators express support in the policy saying it is a payback to the environment as the transport sector is one of the contributors to pollution. Meanwhile, some think that the directive is not practical and call out to use the fees paid by operators in funding reforestation programs instead.
Philippines to celebrate National Bicycle Day every 4th Sunday of November
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1052 declaring the fourth Sunday of November of every year as the National Bicycle Day. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is tasked to lead the observance and celebration of the said day in coordination with relevant government organizations and civil society groups.
“There is a need to highlight the importance of non-motorized transportation as a means of fostering sustainable development and promoting environmental health that is conducive to the physical health and well-being of all Filipinos.”
Proclamation 1052, s. 2020
ADB joins partners in supporting Decade of Action on Road Safety
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) joined nine multilateral development banks (MDBs) in signing a statement to support the second decade of action on road safety (2021–2030).
Under the MDB Joint High-Level Statement on Road Safety, each institution commits to appointing a high-level road safety champion and promoting a more ambitious, integrated, accountable, and results-oriented approach in countries, with particular focus on safe infrastructure for all users.
The signatory agencies agreed to collectively work to support countries in achieving SDG target 11.2 by providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all. The MDBs also recognized the importance of monitoring and reporting progress toward the achievement of road safety goals.
Besides ADB, the other signatories were the African Development Bank, Andean Development Corporation—CAF, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, New Development Bank, and World Bank.
ASEAN Customs Transit System launched
The Asean Customs Transit System (Acts), an online transit management system which was officially launched at a virtual event, aims to make the overland transport of goods more efficient, and at a lower cost, without the need to make repeated Customs declarations or change of vehicles at each border.
Acts was developed to help realise the Asean goals of reducing trade transaction costs and increasing intra-Asean trade.
Businesses can lodge e-transit declarations directly with Asean Customs authorities, and track the movement of their goods from loading at departure to its final destination.
Traders can now carry out a single transit journey across Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam via a single truck, Customs declaration and banker’s guarantee.
The first successful Acts transit movement took place on Oct 23 to 24, with a truck travelling from Singapore via Malaysia to Thailand, after trials began in January this year.
Myanmar is expected to join the system next year while Feasibility studies are also being done for Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines to join in the future.
The system is managed by a permanent team based in the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta. It received support from the European Union, which provided technical expertise and €10 million (S$16.02 million) in funding for Acts since 2012.
MONTHLY RECAP | OCTOBER 2020
Jakarta wins global 2021 Sustainable Transport Award
Jakarta City bagged the global 2021 Sustainable Transport Award (STA) for its ambitious integrated public transportation programs making Indonesia the first-ever Southeast Asian country to have received the prestigious award. The announcement was made during the Mobilize 2020 international sustainable transportation conference and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, in January 2021. Every year, global nonprofit Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and the STA committee acknowledge a city that has implemented strategies to improve citizens’ mobility, reduce air pollution and improve safety and access for pedestrians and cyclists.
The ITDP Indonesia said in a statement on Saturday that the award was the result of an integrated system that included the city’s angkot (public minivans) and the Transjakarta extensive network, as well as the launch of the MRT Jakarta and LRT Jakarta last year, all of which had helped in transforming the city’s overall transportation system. Further, the integration strategy was deemed successful under the city’s flagship Jak Lingko payment scheme in which passengers can ride various modes of public transportation for one flat fare.
Moreover, Jakarta has made massive changes to its pedestrian facilities in the past two years, building a 63-kilometer bicycle lane in 2019 and introducing a plan to add 500 km of bike lanes. Anies issued an instruction through Gubernatorial Regulation No. 51/2020 to establish pop-up bike lanes and prioritize pedestrians and cyclists during the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed in the city as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singapore’s public transport system ranks top in the world
Singapore’s public transport system ranks top in the world Singapore’s public transport system has been ranked top in the world by a US-based travel website, Far & Wide, leaving London second and Hong Kong third.
The website cited high commuter satisfaction rates and affordable charges even for tourists for the Republic’s
top billing. Unlimited rides on buses and trains for a day cost the tourist $10 in Singapore while it cost $13 and $22 in Madrid and London, respectively. Hongkong also offers the $10 a day travel pass but charges half for children aged three to 11 while Singapore offers free rides for children who are 0.9m tall and below.
In an international survey by consulting firm Mckinsey in 2018, Singapore was also considered best among the 24 global cities in terms of public transport system’s availability, affordability, efficiency, convenience and sustainability.
First 10 electric double-decker buses hits the roads in Singapore
The first 10 electric double-decker buses hit the roads in Singapore on October. The 10 buses ply the bus service route 83, which is operated by GoAhead; service 189 by Tower Transit, and service 983 by SMRT. The buses are charged at between 90kW and 150kW for two to four hours, and on a full charge, they can run for 200km to 300km.
The electric buses are part of the S$50 million procurement in 2018 as part of the efforts for a more environmentally friendly public bus fleet. The 15 electric single-decker buses have already been deployed between April and July with the remaining 35 single-decker electronic bus units will be deployed by next year.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that the electric buses will help understand the challenges of running and maintaining electric buses in Singapore’s tropical climate and traffic conditions. However, while being less harmful to the environment, both hybrid and fully electric buses cost more than conventional diesel ones. Still, the LTA said it hopes the cost will come down over time with changes in technology and wider adoption.
In addition to tax rebates and incentives for early adopters of electric cars offered in Budget 2020, the Government is working with commercial entities to build up Singapore’s electric car charging infrastructure.
From the 1,700 charging points now, the plan is to have over 28,000 charging points for electric vehicles by 2030, which is also when the Government expects the last internal combustion engine vehicle to be sold. The plan is to have all of Singapore’s 5,800 public buses run on cleaner energy by 2040.
Public transport workers abused at work guaranteed of legal aid in Singapore
The four public transport operators in Singapore and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide all necessary support to public transport workers, including legal action.
It follows a spate of high-profile abuse cases on Singapore’s buses, which has seen a spike this year as drivers come into conflict with passengers over mask-wearing rules amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, with the MOU, workers were given assurance that they would be backed and supported by the union and their employers should they want to pursue civil action against their abusers.
“We want to send a strong deterrent message that such abusive acts will not be tolerated. A police report will be made for every assault case against our public transport workers while on duty.” NTWU executive secretary Mr Melvin Yong
The MOU was a result of a series of month-long discussions that involved SMRT, SBS Transit, Tower Transit Singapore, Go-Ahead Singapore, NTWU and the Land Transport Authority.
It comes even as NTWU is exploring other preventive measures, such as plastic screens around the bus driver’s seat, to stop egregious acts from hostile, and sometimes drunk, passengers.
Lach Huyen Port receives Japanese innovation technology award
Lach Huyen Port – Hai Phong international gateway port has been the first project in Vietnam to receive the innovation technology award of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE).
JSCE President Yutaka Sunohara congratulated the Lach HuyenPort project in particular and the Vietnamese transportation industry in general. Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong said that this is one of the most important infrastructure development projects funded by the Japanese Government in Vietnam.
The Project is the first Official Development Assistance (ODA) project implemented in the form of Public Private Partnership between Vietnam and Japan. The Lach HuyenInternational Port Construction Project used ODA loans from the Japanese government and reciprocal capital of the Vietnamese government.
This aims to address the growth of demand in cargo volume as well as the increase of larger vessels in the maritime transportation market while contributing to economic development and greater competitiveness in the international market.
Vingroup and Star Charge to electrify Vietnam
The Star Charge has signed a contract with VinBus to cooperate in the establishment of the first electric bus service system in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Phu Quoc, Vietnam. VinBus is planning to launch a fleet of 150-200 electric buses. Star Charge will provide charging support and intelligent safety features.
The electric buses planned for use have a battery capacity up to 281 kWh, which can be fully charged after two hours to give an operating range of 220-260 km, according to the manufacturer.
The fleet is expected to operate from 5.00am to 10.00pm daily with riders taking up to 20 minutes per commute.
Oyika company to expand battery-share idea to rural Cambodia
Singapore venture funded company Oyika Pte Ltd announced expansion of its battery-share services to Cambodian rural communities in a bid to trim costs associated with e-motorbikes and curb the number of traditional internal combustion engine motorbikes in use.
It noted that it has been working on its battery-share concept for e-motorbikes since 2018 and made its debut in the Kingdom in July last year with 10 “swap stations” across the capital. Oyika said it was awarded a grant from the UN Development Programme to expand its rideshare trial in the capital, as a “validation of its initiative and hopes to extend this to rural Cambodia”.
“There is no public transport servicing rural communities. So, e-motorbike sharing offers affordable transport to rural communities without the cost of ownership.” Oyika president Carl Wong
Its model allows for e-motorbike riders to switch a rented depleted battery for a fully charged one at a “swap station”, providing a more affordable alternative to topping up on petrol. Further, sharing e-motorbike batteries will ease the financial burden of purchasing one, which can account for at least half of the total cost of the vehicle.
Amended Road Transport Act with heavier penalties to come into force in Malaysia
The Road Transport Act (Amendment) 2020 pertaining to intoxicated and dangerous driving has been given the royal assent and will be made law late October.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong expressed hope for the latest amendments to create greater awareness amongst road users on traffic laws.
It shall focus on amending the Sections 41 and 45 of the previous law, introducing heavier penalties and changing the prescribed limits for alcohol content in the collected specimen.
Dialogues with stakeholders including community leaders and heads of non-government organisations were conducted. Further, a public survey conducted by the ministry with more than 345,000 respondents, of whom 94 percent agreed with heavier penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Smart cards providers in Philippines issue free cards to commuters
The Philippine government ordered the free use of stored value cards to facilitate cashless transactions on public transportation, so that commuters would only have to pay for their fare.
Most of the bus routes in Metro Manila are implementing a dual payment system. This is in consonance with the move towards cashless transactions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus among bus personnel and passengers.
The Beep card is the most popular stored value card for public transportation. Other cards – such as Pearl, TripKo, and Beep Rides – are being used by commuters for road transport modes, as the Department of Transportation has allowed public transport operators to choose their own contractor. However, the Department is ironing out the interoperability guidelines, providing the stakeholders convenient and different payment options in public transport, tollways, and related facilities.
MONTHLY RECAP | SEPTEMBER 2020
Mobility Awards launched in Philippines on World Car Free Day
The first ever Mobility Awards was launched, in celebration of World Car Free Day and to recognize the most bike-friendly cities, workplaces, and commercial establishments in Metro Manila.
The inaugural round of the Mobility Awards will recognize the top three nominated cities or municipalities, workplaces, and commercial establishments in the Metro Manila, as determined by a panel of judges composed of heads and representatives from MNL Moves, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project Philippines (TCRP PH), 350 Pilipinas, 350.org Asia, and Pinay Bike Commuter Community.
Nominations are open until October 22 via the website mobilityawards.ph, and winners will be awarded on October 29. The organizers hope to hold the awards nationwide in the future.
Bangkok SkyTrain offers free rides for cyclists on World Car Free Day
In celebration of World Car Free Day, Bangkok’s SkyTrain (BTS) offers free rides to those who bring along a bicycle.
Cyclists can carry their bicycles into the Silom and Sukhumvit lines free of charge all day except during the morning peak (6:30am – 10:00am), while those with foldable bikes can ride for free all day.
The company will also give away 10,000 plant seeds to BTS passengers from 10am onwards at the main Siam Station. Such seeds, once grown into trees, he claims, are able to catch PM2.5 dust particles.
Ho Chi Minh City develops plan for underground spaces
As part of the Ho Chi Minh City’s effort to renovate its inner districts, the city authorities are developing a plan for design and construction of underground spaces around metro line stations in the next five years.
According to Ly Khanh Tam Thao, head of the city Department of Planning and Architecture’s Technical Infrastructure Management Department, the city wants to “create an underground space full of state-of-the-art public facilities to best serve its citizens”.
Development of underground spaces will focus initially on the city’s central area, covering 930ha in districts 1 and 3, Binh Thanh district, and a part of District 4. Underground areas will be developed into commercial centres, museums and other cultural spaces, parking spaces, as well as other works such as drainage and flood prevention projects.
Trevo kicks off research on sustainability of car-sharing in Malaysia
Socar Mobility Malaysia subsidiary Trevo submitted its research concept, and has already kicked off a multi-phase year-long research, which seeks to demonstrate the sustainability of people-to-people (P2P) car sharing in Malaysia and strengthen its viability.
Singapore Government extends support to Point-to-Point (P2P) sector
“This package of relief measures will further help to support our drivers and operators through this difficult period and mitigate some of their concerns and challenges.” -Senior Minister (Ministries of Transport and of Sustainability and the Environment) Dr. Amy KhoConsidering that the pandemic crisis adversely affected the taxi and private hire car (PHC) drivers and operators, the Singapore Government will set aside additional $112 million – on top of the $197 million package earlier this year – to extend the Point-to-Point Support Package (PPSP).
The package is mostly for the six-month extension of the Special Relief Fund (SRF) which provides monthly payouts of $300 per vehicle per month (i.e. $10 per day). Over 40,000 drivers who are currently receiving SRF payouts will continue to receive SRF payouts during the extended period.
Some of the other reliefs extended until March 2021 are:extension of special relief for unhired taxis until March 2021 (est. $4.6 million), and extension of licence fee waiver (est. $1.2 million). The taxi operators also extend support to its drivers through commission rebates and rental waivers/discounts, including full rental waivers by some operators during the Circuit Breaker period.