A simple solution for traffic congestion (in RP)

So the MMDA and the LTFRB are implementing the number coding for public utility buses in EDSA. This is a separate implementation from the color coding scheme that is used for private vehicles. These mentioned implementations are both helpful in a way although it is not felt as heavy as it is should be. The government agency like the MMDA is finding a way to solve the traffic issue. But we have to take note of the reality with regard to the roads constructed in the country. Admittedly and unfortunately, the roads are poorly made. The urban planning for the metro was not carefully considered because as you can observe, the roads go narrow suddenly then goes back to normal and there are also unusual small passages that are made that can result to accidents because of sudden concrete barriers. I have experienced that when driving in Edsa-Buendia, the road going to Magallanes is merged suddenly to the bottom of the flyover from Kalayaan. If you’re not careful and turned left, a car coming from the flyover (whose speed might be fast because it’s going down) might collide with your car and accident may occur. In Edsa-Cubao area, when you’re driving towards Aurora Blvd underpass, you have to carefully avoid the concrete barrier for a small passage way for light vehicles. Take note, this passage way doesn’t have a curve to follow but you just have to make a sharp right. So if you’re not aware of it, it’s either you hit the concrete barrier or get inside the passage going to the other side of Edsa. In the Commonwealth area, the roads are wider like say 5-6 lanes, but there are overpasses constructed on the 4th lane. It’s like they’re making a car arcade game where you need to avoid the obstructions or it’s game over.

Well, with some mentioned irregularities in road planning, you cannot put all the blame to MMDA or DPWH. The given length and size of the roads remain constant but the population of both people and vehicles increase. The people dictate how many private and public transporation are to be dispersed at the roads and in essence dictate how heavy the traffic is. What the government is trying to do now is to maxime the roads available although the main drawback is that it is prone to accidents.

Aside from the fact there are problems with the unproportional length of the roads and the volume of vehicles, both the traffic/law enforcers and constituents sometimes abuse their roles. The abuse of rights and power add up to the traffic.

So what’s the solution?

The current proposal of the MMDA to implement a number coding scheme for buses is helpful but lacking. My suggestion is to to have not only a number coding scheme but and odd-even number scheme. This means that for a day only odd number buses are allowed to be in Edsa. For the next day, it’s for the even numbers. If the odd-even scheme is enforced to buses then everyday 50% of the buses traveling in Edsa are prohibited. The bus operators complain this saying that it is not an answer because the buses are not the only ones that comprise the traffic in Edsa. That’s true. But the main reason why the bus operators complain doesn’t concern about the traffic. They’re complaining because their income is at stake. The legal counsel in behalf of the bus operators suddenly burse out her arguments concerning the abuse of power of the enforcers that make the traffic worse. Maybe there are abusers but that’s not the main concern but the profit. What these bus operators forgot to contemplate about are the advantages of the said number coding scheme. Let’s say that Edsa is around 20 kms long. If without the number coding scheme, the maximum speed of a vehicle during peak hours is 20kms/hr then 1 bus trip will go around approximately 1 hour or more. When the number coding is implemented, a bus can go as fast as 50kms/hr or more. This means that reaching from the start of Edsa to the other end will be cut to approximately 30 mins. Although what I’m stating is an ideal case, still the time for a trip will be cut by half as well. Therefore if in a day there are 20 trips per bus in average then it will be doubled to 40 when the number-coding scheme is implemented. In addition, you won’t be paying for the labor, gas and maintenance of those 50% that are not used. So if the bus riders/commuters argue regarding the scheme that there will be less buses, then think again. The bus ride becomes faster and more efficient therefore it can cater passengers of the same volume. This is just common sense.

As what I’ve said in the previous paragraph, the solution by MMDA is helpful but lacking. Why is that so? When you watch the morning and evening news, Edsa is still crowded ang there is still heavy traffic. The reason why there is still traffic is that the only lanes that are cut off by the vehicles are those found on the yellow lane. What about on the private vehicles lane? It’s still the same. That’s why I agree with the argument of the bus operators that they are not the only ones that cause traffic. There are also private vehicles, cabs, jeepneys, FX’s and trucks.

The solution I suggest is straight to point but needs sacrifices, understanding and discipline. The private lane is also heavy during peak times. Therefore if we apply an odd-even scheme for the buses then we can say that an odd-even coding scheme should also be implemented for the private vehicles. If this is the case then it can be assured that only 50% of the total number of vehicles can pass through Edsa. If we want to see change then we should really adapt in this kind of scheme. A half change might not be experienced as a good idea like that of the Edsa buses but applying it to all will change everything.

Now, there will be a lot of complains regarding this suggestion both from the commuters and private individuals who have their cars. But I have to ask, what then is a good long term solution for this problem? Can you, destroy those infrastructures that obstruct in widening the roads? Or can the government build a skyway at Edsa so as to double the area of the road? The only way to resolve traffic is to lessen the cars using the road. And that’s one good solution. If that’s the case, someone will ask where will the other 50% of the private vehicle users go? (plus I guess some of the 50% passengers of the buses affected in the number coding scheme) Here are my suggestions:

1. Provide alternative roads and window hours for use of the major roads.

Edsa is not the only road that can bring motorists to their destinations. The MMDA can permit the use of other alternative roads that these motorists can use. So for example, the number coding scheme is implemented in the major roads but not in the secondary roads. One good example of this is the Friendship Routes found in Las Pinas.

Also, window hours can be used which I think is also implemented now by the MMDA although it’s not felt very much because of some abusive enforcers that don’t honor it.

2. Car pooling

This idea is already used by some people both in the academe and industry. This will not only help in saving money but also gasoline, time and environment as well. You don’t actually need to allow anybody to ride but only those people you know like your neighbor or friends. Just tell them your house rules in the car (i.e. not to eat or drink and to close the door smoothly etc.). Just pay the driver for bringing you to your office or near office.

3. Faster arrival of trains

It is not practical to suggest the government to create new train stations. This may take a while. But what is notable in the train stations in the Philippine is that it is found in major areas where people need to go to. My suggestion here and I think other poiliticians have already considered is to have more rotation of trains. This means that if it take 10 minutes for me to wait for a train then it should be lessend to 5 minutes. I have experienced waiting for more than 10 minutes (both in LRT and MRT) even during peak times. If the problem why they can’t have faster rotation of trains is money, then I think they should increase the train fare already. Increasing the fare by 5 to 10 pesos is still reasonable I think if it will give an efficient, productive and comfortable train for the people.

4. Big trucks should not be allowed to travel in the metro during day time.

This is very important because trucks are big but the roads are small. Therefore one truck can be equivalent to 3-5 small vehicles. Trucks are slow and big obstruction. So in order to minimize this, these vehicles should be banned not only in Edsa but in the whole of the metro (for a simple reason that other roads are even smaller than Edsa and thus, bigger trucks cannot be accommodated properly). Like for example when I’m going to school, it’s like one truck is equal to one green light just to pass Vito Cruz street. Instead of two lanes can be accommodated, only one lane is open because of the big and long truck. So if this is the case,  these trucks should be banned during day time and be allowed during the whole of the night time. It’s like giving them a set of their own worlds.

5. Sacrifice, discipline and understanding

I know a lot of people will complain about my suggestion because it’s hard for them to follow this. Imagine this scheme is implemented and the traffic is no longer heavy. Of course you like it. But in order to attain it, a change must be made not only for the bus sector. We should all take part and be responsible. If you really want to bring your car with you then you have to leave your house very early and leave your office late. It’s still up to us if we want to attain a change for the better. If not, then you probably have to suggest another idea or we can just stay in this traffic problem forever. Lastly, according to the show “The Explainer” by Manolo Quezon in the episode of the “Science of Traffic,” an average of 10 years is wasted on one’s life because of traffic in the metro. That’s why for me, I’d rather adjust myself in order to have a change rather than spent 10 years of my life in traffic.


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