Traffic barriers would really be workable if…
MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2016 - 9:00am

Traffic barriers have been put up almost in the entire length of EDSA since a few weeks ago and the move has been eliciting varied reactions from commuters, private motorists and PUV drivers.

TV news sound bites from commuters that I caught say there was a slight improvement in the travel time. I would surmise that most bus drivers would be complaining about their like being handcuffed from doing their favorite move of getting into the private vehicles’ lane to move up ahead from other buses to pick up a large bunch of commuters waiting up ahead. While private vehicle drivers are now limitedly enjoying the best of both worlds weaving from their own to the bus lanes. And the HPG still diplomatically saying there are indeed a lot more of private vehicle drivers who are “pasaways” that contribute to the delay of the flow of traffic along EDSA.    

I have been reserving my own until after I have spent enough time observing the effect or impact of their existence to the various users of the metro’s main thoroughfare. After weeks of driving myself or after being chauffeured through the daily traffic of EDSA, I have observed that with the barriers the traffic flow appeared a lot more orderly.

Faster? I don’t know but I believe an orderly flow would eventually lead to a faster clip.      

But perhaps with the barriers, the chances of having paint scrapes and bumper bends between buses and private vehicles caused by bus drivers unendingly weaving in and out of their lanes while wantonly maneuvering to go ahead of other buses in picking up passengers would tremendously be reduced.

The traffic barriers that have limited the moving space of buses have also highlighted their numbers’ more than needed presence. There are just too many buses plying EDSA and the advantage of having double-deck buses seems to be emphasized, as these double-deck buses require lesser road space for almost double the number of passengers being transported. 

I can’t help but commend the joint efforts of all those involved in mitigating the effects of having too many vehicles, increasing in number every year, running in obsoletely sized roads, some even decreasing in width due to misuse. Secretary Rene Almendras with the HPG, MMDA and local government traffic managers and enforcers all obviously to be indeed neck-deep in thought and experimentation every day of their lives to come up with measures to alleviate the daily woes of metro citizens and denizens as they get themselves stuck in barely moving traffic every darn day of their lives. 

These traffic barriers can be seen as a new beginning of a long journey started as long ago as our TV show Motoring Today, which is on its 29th year of serving the general motoring public following up on various measures and experimentations conceived to solve the perennial traffic problem in the metro. 

And these traffic barriers could actually work, but only if everybody does its share to make it successful. And why not? After everything that has been tried and didn’t work, it can indeed be worth the try.

Toyota’s changing of the guard

I may have done my last TV interview of Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) outgoing president, Michinobu Sugata last Wednesday, January 13 at the Rizal Ballroom of the Makati Shangri-La Manila during the formal turnover ceremonies of the presidency of the country’s leading automobile company.

It was a sentimental interview, after all it was with one of TMP’s longest sitting president who has been a drinking mate together with the motoring media in almost all Toyota auto launch and test drive events, who has been always accommodating for arranged or ambushed TV interviews, who has always been willing to share information that are off or on the record and a friend for six years—it has always been a pleasure knowing the gentleman—and now he’s bidding us goodbye.

Sugata-san led TMP with such an enviable performance of irrefutable market dominance from 2010 to 2015. During his watch TMP marked its 100-thousand annual unit sales in 2014, making it to the Global Toyota 100K Club. And in 2015, TMP reached its 1-Million sales milestone and successfully achieved its 14th consecutive Triple Crown. Sugata-san has also reputedly revitalized Philippine Motorsports by way of his brainchild, the highly successful Toyota Vios Cup.    

For expats, leaving the Philippines after a regular assignment is not an easy thing to do, more so for someone who has stayed as long as Sugata-san. And I’m not saying this as a Filipino on an ego trip. I have been told this many times and unsolicited by top executives who I have seen off. And believe me, being in this industry for almost three decades I have met and have become friends with a whole lot of them. After staying and imbibing our culture and people of warm hearts and true friendship, it can be quite difficult to put all these casually behind. I can imagine it can be a tearful breakaway.    

During the well-attended event, which saw a slew of government officials, top executives of other auto industry firms in the country, dealers and members of the motoring media, TMP formally introduced the succeeding president, Mr. Satoru Suzuki, a come backing former TMP executive who had his first tour of duty in 1997 to 1999 as marketing vice president in charge of Sales and Product Planning operations. Before finally coming back to Toyota Philippines as the new president, Mr. Suzuki was responsible for all sales- related issues in Asia, in both Toyota Motor Asia Pacific-Japan and Singapore.

We warmly welcome Mr. Suzuki as the new president of TMP as I say, “Till we meet again, my friend” to Sugata-san as he takes a new path to new challenges.

Happy Motoring!!!

Email: sunshine.television@yahoo.com / motoringtoday-star@stv.com.ph

ACIRC BUSES GLOBAL TOYOTA HAPPY MOTORING MAKATI SHANGRI-LA MANILA MR. SUZUKI NBSP STRONG SUGATA TMP TRAFFIC
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