Traffic authorities are now under pressure to do something about the traffic congestion on EDSA and other major thoroughfares of Metro Manila that has reached or even breached, according to many, pre-pandemic gravity.
The term carmaggedon is back in vogue and there are calls, surprisingly even from motorists themselves, to bring back that once hated Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), better known as coding.
Many are complaining that, contrary to claims of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), many of the initiatives, including and especially the EDSA Busway, are causing and not helping ease traffic congestion, especially as health autohrities are easing travel restrictions and re-opening the economy.
But Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos, who has been rolling back some of the DOTr’s initiatives, like reopening EDSA U-turn slots, is not caving in to pressure to bring back coding.
Abalos seems to be more concerned about the welfare of commuters than that of private motorists.
He noted that public transportation is still not on normal operations, with the 50% passenger capacity limit.
“If we implement the number coding scheme now, can our public transport accommodate passengers given the minimum health protocols such as social distancing needed to be implemented?” Abalos said.
Coding may also force many to use public transport, he said, adding carpooling may not be a good idea as it might lead to risks of contagion.
And despite all those carmaggadon photos in social media, Abalos still maintains the travel times on EDSA are better than pre-pandemic numbers.
“Before pandemic, vehicle volume on EDSA was averaging at 405,000 but now, it is about 399,000. However, southbound travel speed is faster now at 27 kilometers per hour, compared to 11 kilometers per hour before the pandemic.”
Like the DOTr, the MMDA chairman believes the EDSA Busway helped improve travel times, as well as new road infrastructure like the Skyway Stage 3 and the Mabuhay Lanes.
Instead of clamoring for coding, private motorists should learn to take advantage of the Mabuhay Lanes, he said.
Billion-peso bike lanes
The government has spent more than a billion pesos on bike lanes under the Bayanihan Bike Lane Networks Project.
According to a press statement, the DOTr and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) spent Php801,830,479.93 in completing 313 kilometers of pavement markings, physical separators, and road signage for the bike lanes.
It also reported spending Php150 million for 129 kilometers of bike lanes in Metro Cebu and Php145,369,391 for 55 kilometers of bikes in Metro Davao.
The DOTr and DPWH spent all that as part of the commitment to promote active transportation and ensuring the safety of the pedestrians.
“We intend to provide commuters with access to faster, and efficient means of mass transportation; and to open infrastructure for active transportation such as walking and cycling,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.
Will all the money spent on bike lanes be worth it? Are all the bike lanes really benefitting cyclists and pedestrians? Are other motorists respecting the supposed exclusivity of the bike lanes?
Many fear the answer to those questions may not be to everyone’s liking.
EV Summit on
For the second year in a row, the Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit will be held online.
The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) has announced that the 9th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit (PEVS) will be held on Aug. 26 and 27 via Zoom.
The theme of summit, held in partnership with Meralco and the Department of Energy (DOE), is “Accelerating the Switch to Electro-Mobility in the Philippines.”
EVAP said the summit will focus on fast-tracking electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the local transport sector in line with the government’s medium-term goal of attaining a low-carbon economy.
With major car manufacturers already signalling a shift toward EVs, the country should do well to ride this seeming unstoppable wave towards fossil fuel free modes of transport.
As EVAP president Edmund Araga says: “We need to step up our efforts to achieve our goals for rapid EV deployment, and to do this, government and private sectors need to collectively reaffirm their commitment to do so.”
Mandatory PVMIC tests coming?
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is apparently moving towards mandatory vehicle testing by Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PVMIC).
Already the LTO is identifying areas where its district or branch offices will only accept PVMIC emission and vehicle inspection tests prior to renewal of vehicle registration.
A Department of Transport memorandum circular has began to assign what it calls a geographical area of responsibility, or GAOR, to authorized PMVIC.
According to reports, LTO district or extension offices will only accept vehicle inspection reports from PMVICs in which they are situated.
Meanwhile, the LTO has again, through press releases, emphasizing reasons for motorists to go to PVMICs,
Said DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jose, chairperson of the DOTr’s Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center Steering Commitee: “An unsafe vehicle on the road can kill and be as deadly as a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. A poorly maintained vehicle can experience mechanical failures that may end in a terrible road crash.”
Hyundai truck hub
A new and improved Hyundai Trucks and Buses Cebu is set to serve enterprising Filipinos in Western Visayas.
Owned and operated by one of HARI’s pioneer dealers, Hyundai Cebu, Inc. (HCI), the hub for Hyundai trucks and buses in the region now boasts up to 2,000 square meters of space for the line-up of Hyundai trucks and buses.
Inspired by Hyundai’s Global Dealership Space Identity (GDSI) concept, the hub provides superior service and maintenance for buses and trucks with a dependable team of professionals ready to respond to their needs in areas of sales, service, and customer care.
Says Edward Vincent G. Onglatco, president of Hyundai Trucks and Buses Cebu: “You can trust that we shall treat your business in the best way we know how—by keeping your best interests at heart and delivering on our promise of partnership and service the Cebuano way with integrity, care, and commitment.”
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