A third idea on solving traffic woes

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - December 30, 2015 - 9:00am

Today being the last day of 2015, let me and my lovely lady, Carmen, and our children Belynda, Averell, Byron, Beatriz and Charisse wish all of you a very prosperous new year to start tomorrow.

In my last two articles, I dared to suggest to our venerable lawmakers to consider the idea of passing two pieces of urgent legislation that might slay the modern day dragon called traffic jams. I fear that the entanglement of unimaginable volume of vehicles competing with one another for our ever narrowing antiquated roads has breached tolerable proportions that invoking police power of the state -  that power to promulgate hurtful laws for the benefit of the body politic might indeed, be the inevitable solution.

The first article dwelt on a subject that would surely find strong resistance from among our society's elite because when, not if, enacted the statute will put a cap on the number of cars a family can own, a hitherto untrammeled privilege that the affluent might not yield rather too easily.

The other idea that I took the challenge of writing about was equally so radical that when considered for statutory enactment, it would somehow drive out of our roads such environmentally unfriendly and economically burdensome units as those called "multicabs." I recognized its seeming oppressiveness that I further suggested a grace period of three years for the owners to use.

Really, I harbor a purpose for my outlining those suggestions. I am afraid that those articles were lost in the flux of activities everybody had in the last few days. From those two suggestions, let me go to my next idea.

Our public utility jeepneys arose out of a need. These vehicles were converted from military type jeeps into public transport straight out of the second world war. In the 60's and the 70's they were made using surplus engines - surplus because they were imported mostly from Japan and installed into locally fabricated chassis. The truth was that operating such engines was no longer allowed by the countries of their origin. Otherwise said, those engines were banned for many reasons. So, when we installed them into our PUJ system, we, in effect, were using discarded engines.

It is true that there are brand new units which we use as PUJ's. But, still we have the PUJ system which operation is now overtaken by time. They are no longer viable. Their inefficiency is demonstrated by long lines of passengers waiting for transport especially during unholy hours.

Our law on mass land transportation needs to be amended to meet the demands of present day commuters. It has to be restructured as to uphold the welfare of the general public requiring comfort and efficiency. First, efficiency. We have an explosion of commuters that our present PUJ system cannot serve anymore. A simplistic way to meet this demand would have probably been to increase the number of jeeps but this is impossible to attain considering additional vehicles translate right away to more traffic woes.

Second, passengers who ride on jeepneys unnecessarily expose themselves to all sorts of environmental hazards. Riding jeepneys is not as comfortable and healthy when compared to riding air-conditioned buses.

These concerns indicate that the better way is for the passage of a law that allows the introduction of double decker air-conditioned buses into our public transport system to replace our PUJ's. A double decker bus has the capacity to carry the passenger load of six jeeps. If you just imagine the length of the road occupied by six jeeps strung bumper-to-bumper, you will agree that the double deck bus uses a much shorter road space. It will therefore help ease traffic if a new law allows it to run our streets instead of the PUJ's.

In addition to the obvious advantage of buses being air-conditioned, there is an economic factor that our country can surely enjoy. The fuel consumption and the maintenance cost of a double deck bus is comparatively cheaper compared to running six jeepneys. I have reason to believe that our economists can quickly calculate these advantages to further boost our economy starting with lower oil importation.

Again, these are raw ideas from an ordinary citizen. If our legislators hone these thoughts, our traffic problems may not really be insurmountable.



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with