On "U-turns" and "no plates" in the Metro

The implementation of the "U-turn" scheme in most major thoroughfares in Metro Manila is viewed variably. There are the pros and there are the cons — with many of the cons mainly basing their dissenting view on the belief that with the implementation of this scheme the traffic in the metro is being ruled by the drivers instead of being orchestrated by a traffic flow dictated by computers that have been programmed based on actual statistics and research.

Many are also of the belief that should an experimentation like the u-turn scheme really needs to be tested to find out it real mettle in improving traffic flow, then the corresponding required infrastructure should first be in place. Areas where the U-turns are allowed should be widened, as these are the areas where traffic converges and eventually narrows down the passageway.

The "no plate, no travel" policy is viewed by many as a well-meaning anti-crime measure that was hastily planned and implemented. The present "plate backlog" at the LTO was reportedly mentioned during the initial meetings before the NAKTF policy was announced. Many of those who were privy to the initial meetings were clueless why the measure was pushed despite the apprehensions expressed during these meetings regarding the present backlog.

If this were part of a political orchestration that’s supposed to produce some perception of efficient anti-crime policies — it has undeniably backfired.

Whatever, let’s just tow the line.
Service Clinics To Benefit All GM Owners
A first-ever Service Clinic for the Chevrolet Venture was recently held in the face of the fast-growing number of Venture owners in the country.

Mr. Frederick M. Teach
, director, commercial trade of SGM or Shanghai General Motors brought to the country a team of SGM after-sales executives that joined those from GM Philippines in conducting the one-afternoon session that tackled various topics like preventive maintenance, vehicle warranty, car features and benefits of original parts.

In a luncheon where the SGM executives were presented to some invited members of the motoring media, Nicky Mariano, GM Philippines top marketing man volunteered that prior to the Service Clinic for the Chevrolet Venture owners, a whole-day session dedicated to training GM Philippines technicians was conducted by the well-trained SGM Team in order to increase their knowledge of handling auto repair and maintenance of GM’s currently fast-selling family van.

General Motors Automobiles Philippines
president James Lim confided that plans to conduct similar sessions for the rest of the Chevrolet product line-up and across all GM brands are also underway.

"Also afoot are blueprints to possibly bring back to the Philippines a well-respected luxury car brand during the immediate post-war era that was once preferred by the country’s rich and famous — the Cadillac," James added.

On the other hand, Fred Teach, the very likeable American SGM executive who has had a 35-year stint with General Motors holding various assignments in Japan, US, Asia Pacific, Europe and China and an extensive background in various fields such as finance, sales, marketing, brand management and commercial trade, looks forward eagerly to facilitating such return of the Cadillac to the country’s discerning car enthusiasts.
Pit Lane Notes
The Bahrain Grand Prix is set for this Sunday, and everyone is looking forward to a very historic Formula 1 race — the first ever in the Middle East. However, things aren’t going as smoothly as planned. With the race barely a week away, officials admitted that the track might not be fully operational in time for Sunday’s race. It was rumored that they have asked for a one-year extension for the completion of the track, but Bernie Ecclestone turned down their request. Although it in itself is finished, supervisor Philippe Gurdjian said that they aren’t 100% ready for a race to be held in it yet. One thing people don’t have to worry about in Bahrain is security. According to them, they are prepared to handle anything from minor vandalism to terrorism. I’m sure that brought a sigh of relief to everyone’s lips.

Ron Dennis
of McLaren has conceded that it may take his time some time before they can actually win a race this season. F1 fans were expecting a lot from the MP4-19, but all it has done so far was show its immense unreliability. Dennis has his sights set on the Spanish Grand Prix, but admitted that things will definitely be very difficult between now and then. He attributed Ferrari’s domination in the first couple of races to the superior tires they are using and not the engine.

Chief Engineer Malcolm Oastler, formerly of BAR-Honda, has announced that he will be quitting from his post at Jaguar and will go on to Australia with his family, all this barely a year after being named Chief Engineer. There is no bad blood at all between him and the team, and although the people Jaguar at undoubtedly sad to see him go, they all expressed that they wish him noting but the best for the future.
Teaching Modules Well On Their Way
Did you know that there is such an entity as the National Center for Transportation Studies?

Originally known as the Transport Training Center (TTC) during its creation in 1976, it was tasked to upgrade the capability of government personnel concerned with transportation through intensive and practical training in the fields of traffic engineering, planning and management. In 1993 it was renamed to what it is now and in addition to its regular training programs the Center now conducts research in the various fields of transportation and administers graduate programs in transportation studies with such objectives like, to educate and train students and professionals in the areas of transport policies, planning, engineering and management, and to promote research in transportation as basis for the scientific planning and management of comprehensive transport policies, which contribute to the people’s welfare and the nation’s economy.

Please don’t let me bore you, but for us, SPMJ or Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists, it was Eureka! We found out, through the hound-like sniffing of SPMJ founding director, Pinky Colmenares, motoring editor of the Bulletin, just who or what we have looking for to effectively conceive, design and produce the teaching modules for elementary and high school students on traffic education and road safety.

In a very fruitful meeting with Dr. Ricardo G. Sigua, Ph.D, an associate professor of UP’s Dept. of Civil Engineering and associates Hilario Sean O. Palmiano (Dr. Eng.) and Jim Joel Madrigal, which Pinky together with another SPMJ founding director Ron delos Reyes, producer/host of Auto Review and myself had last week, we learned that we can have the first draft of these modules pronto, like in 3 to 4 weeks time. If we give it another month for the final draft and scripting for the audio-visuals for another month, we will be well within our self-imposed deadline of August, this year to go around the schools of Metro Manila to show the AVPs and to distribute the teaching modules to their principals and teachers — all for the SPMJ advocacy of promoting traffic education and road safety to the youth.

If you are interested to have your firm part of the roster of companies that are aware of their responsible corporate citizenship while supporting this advocacy with the end goal of ridding our streets of anarchy and chaos, you can contact any of the SPMJ members, all motoring journalists who can be identified with society’s initials that appear after their names.
Motoring Tip Of The Week
For some, the exodus for the provinces for the traditional observance of the Holy Week cum summer respite has started. Planning for out of town drives should be carefully done with your vehicle’s readiness and reliability on top of the priority list. Many service stations and "casas" or auto companies offer free check up as a public service to its customers especially during this time of the year. Make use of them for added peace of mind while traveling especially for long trips to the far-flung boondocks where service shops may prove to be rare and far in between.

Now for possible trouble-shooting or "car first aid" in case of some trouble along the way, it is advisable to bring some items that can prove to be very handy in such situations, like, of course a tool box that would contain basic tools like a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, a medium sized "catala", a medium sized hammer, a large pair of scissors, plus whatever you already have. Compliment this with electrical tape, masking tape, about twelve feet of wire and an equal length of rope, plus some spare hoses and fan belts. Now while you’re at it, you might as well bring a small medical first aid kit as well. And you are off and running.

But before you zoom off, better check if the wife and the kids are with you. You may inadvertently leave them behind in your eagerness to leave the maddening metro behind.

For Comments (e-mail) motoring/[email protected].

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