Friday, July 26, 2013

MMDA Plan to solve Metro Manila traffic

Thousands of tired souls traversed the wet Taft and Espana avenues hoping to catch a city jeepney which will ply them to their homes. Young, old, men, women and children all walked almost two kilometers away from the nearest place where they all jockeyed for that spot inside the jeep. Almost all were tired from the walking under the heat of the blazing midday sun.

I shudder to think what will happen if these scenes began during a thunderstorm or a spontaneous rain shower. It would have sparked a revolt.

I heard a commuter advocate say that roads were constructed for commuters. Yes, the very reason why there are roads is for people use. Lately, the paradigm has shifted, and perceptions dashed. Now, roads are for vehicles plying people. The people have been relegated to the sidelines.

This is what is happening not just in Manila but in the next few weeks, even the lives of those outside the capital city will be changed.

The MMDA has this plan of creating an integrated transport system. It is a good idea, which I dare say, should have been done and completed decades ago. Integrating transport is good if government have developed them. Integrating them for these sectors to be "developed" is wrong. Government needs to develop the road system, the rail system and even the pedestrian system and thereafter, integrate them. If these systems are still underdeveloped, then, what would happen next? Chaos and confusion, that is.

For example, it is a good idea that provincial buses go to a central station. Other countries have that. However, if you do not have a system or a developed system wherein routes from every direction goes to this central system in an efficient manner, what will happen to your idea of centralization? How would you centralize things which were built in a de-centralized manner? Obviously, this will lead to confusion, decay and further deterioration?

Likewise, the plan of the MMDA is capricious and anti-poor, why? You will require 4.5 million Filipino commuters who live in the suburbs to walk several kilometers from the place of disembarkation to the central bus terminal. Some ask--what's wrong with that? Walking towards the station is like exercise. Excuse me, but if it will require me to walk a kilometer or two, with a bag filled with heavy things, that is not sacrifice but foolishness.

MMDA should study the plan further to avoid public confusion and possibly disaster.