ESTONIA: The Ministry of Economic Affairs & Communications and the Ministry of the Environment are preparing a railway electrification strategy after receiving cabinet backing for the development of proposals.The government envisages that electrification works could be undertaken in 2022-28, supporting the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% from the 1990 figure by 2030.Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk put forward various options to reduce emissions from the transport, small-scale energy and agricultural sectors in June. It was felt that that transport offered the best opportunity for a reduction in CO2 emissions, and railway electrification would be the most efficient way to achieve this.Kokk said significant investment in recent years had made rail travel more comfortable and accessible, but the percentage of the national network which is electrified is one of the lowest in the EU.‘Electrification of the rail network would help to reduce both its environmental impact and its noise, while increasing travel speed’, Kokk explained, adding that it would reduce fuel costs by €5m/year.Passenger operator Elron carried almost 4·1 million people in the first six months of this year, a 5% increase on the same period last year and a 50% increase since new trains were introduced five years ago. Demand-based pricing was introduced on August 1, in an effort to encourage travel at less busy times.To handle the growth in ridership the government has approved a tender for the supply of two more EMUs, as well as four hybrid units for use on express services.
ILOILO City – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in Western Visayas is reducing physical distancing controls between passengers in maritime transportation. Vero asserted that this new policy will not compromise the health of sea passengers, especially in motorboats plying the Iloilo City and Guimaras route and roll-on, roll off ships in Dumangas, Iloilo. Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had a six-hour meeting on Tuesday to “reassess” the policy after medical experts warned that reducing the one-meter physical distance among commuters may lead to further coronavirus transmission. “Ang instruction naman nila is to implement talaga,” the regional director added. The gradual easing of physical distancing in public transport aims to invigorate the economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Director Richard Osmeña of LTFRB, they would wait for further clarifications from DOTr, including the diagram for the new seating distance in PUVs. “Hindi na naman masyadong marami ang mga pasahero kaya ‘yung pag-reduce ng physical distancing wala namang problema,” Vero told Panay News. Their officials agreed not to rush in enforcing the Department of Transportation (DOTr) order reducing the space between public transport passengers. “Ang biyahe naman ng barko from Palawan, Cebu and Metro Manila, ang kanilang capacity is around 700 to 900 pero kumakarga lang sila ng 300,” he added. Unlike in land transport, one-meter distancing requirement among commuters of sea vessels in the region is being reduced to 0.75 meters beginning today, according to Regional Director Jose Venancio Vero. “The body came up with a recommendation to be submitted to the President and it will be the President who will ultimately decide,” Roque told CNN Philippines’ The Source./PN Although physical distancing policy in sea vessel is being relaxed, Vero urged passengers to continue observing health protocols like wearing of facemask, face shield, frequent hand washing and proper hygiene. Vero also said the suspension of fast craft trips from Iloilo to Bacolod City, which is under modified enhanced community quarantine, is still in effect. Vero said he received an advisory from the MARINA central office mandating the relaxed physical distancing rules. President Rodrigo Duterte will decide no later than today on the fate of the DOTr’s controversial move. In Region 6, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office (LTFRB), MARINA and Department of Health decided to keep the one-meter distance rule between passengers of public utility vehicles.