EDITORIAL - Never ending story of the van terminal

The Freeman

It seems that the city of Cebu does not know how to deal with vans for hire. After shunting them from one place to another, the latest development in the vans' unending plight is that they will now be using as terminal the old Citicenter commercial complex in barangay Kamagayan, bounded on two sides by Junquera Street and Sanciangco Street.

But their stay in Kamagayan is not for keeps. Traffic officials made it expressly clear that the Citicenter terminal will only be temporary. What that means is the vans can be asked to move yet again. Where? That depends. On what? Nobody knows. But do not expect the officials to know because they do not. If they knew the answer to this problem, it would have been solved long ago.

One indication that traffic officials do not know the problem, much less the solution to it, is that they appear to be concerned only on where to put the vans terminal. It never seemed to occur to them that each time they shunted the vans from where they previously put it, they are at the same time putting a lot of people into great inconvenience and confusion.

It is not just the vans that are being shuffled from one place to another. More importantly it is people. The city of Cebu, the premier city in the south, the second most important city in the Philippines, cannot keep on driving van passengers from one place to another without sending the message that it is in an absolute state of confusion and does not know how to deal with it.

The city has kicked the vans around 367 times already (that is just for emphasis, lest some nitwit accuse us of telling a lie) and still nobody sees any end to this rigmarole. For the sake of its pride and honor, Cebu City cannot keep it up this way. Either it finds a permanent place to put up a vans terminal or it decides to stop allowing vans into the city altogether.

In fact, reducing the problem to whether or not to allow vans in the city should simplify the problem. At least the options will be a lot clearer. But this failure to decide and find a place for the vans is messing up not just the van operations but the lives of passengers as well. And then there is also the traffic that will be caused by the constant transfers.

The transfer to the old Citicenter commercial complex in Kamagayan is a transfer to an area bounded by narrow streets - Junquera and Sanciangco - and most especially at their narrowest. With roughly 200 vans suddenly appearing in the area, plus the passengers that will be attracted to them, one can expect the experience to be a mess, and potentially short-lived, till a new place can be found again.

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