Sunday, July 10, 2016

Solutions For Traffic Congestion in Metro Manila

By Alon Calinao Dy: Talking about the traffic congestion in Metro Manila is a constant headache for the commuters. Ever since I started to study Nursing at St. Jude College in Manila, I spent hours commuting a day.

Each day, I risked my health by inhaling toxic air pollutants coming from the jeepney ride since there were no air-conditioned Fx vehicles going to my school. I also couldn't afford taxi fare. I suffered inhaling hazardous air pollutants during my stay in Manila, and what I said a constant headache with traffic congestion in the city.

After asking about the solutions for traffic jam in Metro cities, my father suggested a solution that might not be acceptable for some Filipinos but definitely a clear path to solve the traffic headache among commuters. He said, "Alon, you have to blog about having an evening shift in government offices." 

I don't know if this kind of a proposal to start evening shifts in some government offices is an effective way in reducing traffic congestion in Metro Manila. But I start to believe that it somehow helps to decongest Metro Manila traffic. I think my father has a great idea because the traffic situation now is more worse than before.

I think one of the traffic problems is the increasing number of vehicles over the years. Of course, car owners have bought their vehicles expensively and could not dump their cars easily. But just like Singapore government, car is only needed for 5 years and after that, every owner should abandon it in accordance with their law.

In addition, one thing I observed in Singapore when I went there twice is that their cars are so expensive; and perhaps their government discourages Singaporeans to have their own cars to avoid traffic congestion, and because it has one of the best public transport systems in the world -- public buses owned by the government with organize bus trips and paid fixed salaries among drivers.

I don't know if many Filipino drivers will agree to have fixed salaries when sometimes they can earn more money than regular employees. Adjusting to a serious problem on the road is just a matter of discipline in order to have a real change that Filipinos have been longing for. 

I think a proper discipline is needed and a number one solution of this traffic problem in the Philippines. Without that kind of discipline, I don't think there's a definitive answer to this difficult situation. We've already built footbridges in the past administrations, but it didn't fix the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

So even if you put bike lanes, improve the rail transport system, have footpaths, and encourage people to walk if it is unnecessary to use their cars, you will still get a headache without a proper discipline. Every vehicle owner should abide to the road rules, and because Philippines is considered as one of the countries with worst traffic in the world, the government should put on heavy fines for those bus or jeepney drivers who drop and pick passengers in the middle of the road. 

Lastly, the government should have a serious punishment for those street vendors who block the roads, 'kotong' cops who get money from the motorists and drunk drivers who continue to endanger themselves and the lives of other people.