The New MMDA Proposal

I just read over at the Philippine Star that the Metro Manila Development Authority, that august body that regulates traffic and other things in the metro (including choosing which bad movies are part of a certain annual film festival) has a new proposal for easing traffic in the metropolis. The new proposal proposes (a-hem) that the ten a.m. to three p.m. window hours for number coding be removed.

MMDA Chairman Oscar Inocentes said removing the window hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. would greatly relieve the problem of traffic volume. At the moment, only Makati City, Malabon and Las Piñas do not allow vehicles banned for the day to pass through their streets from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “This is one solution which I believe can really solve the traffic problem. At the moment, even if there is number coding, the coded vehicles can still go out in the streets during the window hours. These still add to the volume of vehicles in the streets for that day,” he said.

For those who don’t know what the number coding is: Certain vehicles are not allowed on major thoroughfares on certain days of the week. If your license plate ends in a 1 or 2, you’re not allowed on the streets on Mondays from seven to ten in the morning and from three to seven in the afternoon/evening. Plates ending in 3 or 4 are not allowed on Tuesdays, and so on. Saturdays and Sundays are a sort of “free-for-all.”

The scheme works to a point. The goal is to reduce the volume of vehicles on the road during peak hours, and it does look good on paper. And it does work in a way. It’s a good plan. What makes it not a better plan is when we consider that we don’t work with a 1:1 people-vehicle ratio. Some people have more than one vehicle. They have a choice of which vehicle to use on a particular day. If their favorite vehicle is prohibited on Monday, they can ride their not-so-favorite vehicle instead.

I understand Chairman Inocentes’s proposal. There are too many abuses already. The problem is I think it’s too tame. (Alright. I’m in a very cranky mood. I think it will become obvious.)

Several other suggestions that will work if we put our collective will into them:

  1. Get rid of all jeepneys, period. Do not make exceptions for side streets. Leaving jeepneys in side streets will make things worse. Think of it: If they clog up the major thoroughfares, what makes you think they won’t do the same on smaller streets? Jeepneys should go the way of the dinosaur.
  2. Standardize the operation of buses along the major thoroughfares. Buses carry more people than jeepneys, so they are more practical in the long run.
  3. Get rid of either the pedicabs or motorcycles, or both.
  4. Improve or implement proper driving among motorists.
  5. Get rid of those ridiculous pink fences.
  6. Replace the jeepneys and the other outdated, regressive modes of transportation with more efficient and up to date (read: modern) technological alternatives. LRTs and MRTs are on top of the list.

And to all who might ask what to do regarding the displaced drivers and pedicab and tricycle operators, the answer is really simple. Educate them and make them part of either the construction, operation or maintenance of aforementioned technological alternatives. Kick or push them down from their self-perceived importance (i.e. don’t be afraid of them threatening a massive strike) and put them where they belong. Or at least where their skills can be more useful.

An anonymous friend added this to the last paragraph: Either that or shoot them all.

We won’t go that far. Apologies for being cranky.



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