MAP: Traffic costs 13.4-M people P3.4-B

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A group of executives urged the government to resolve the worsening traffic problem in the country.

As the traffic situation continues to be as one of the societal woes in the Philippines, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) called on the government to ease the “horrendous daily traffic” in Metro Manila.

“The MAP is directly affected because the employees of its members have been crying for a solution,” the group said.

In a report by The STAR, the MAP said that the daily average cost of traffic congestion is approximately P3.4 billion for 13.4 million people based on several factors which include the value of time lost due to delay, fuel costs, vehicle operating costs, health impact as well as greenhouse gas emission or pollution.

It said that the daily cost estimate translates to P250 per person trip per day, which is around 40 percent of the P600 minimum daily wage in Metro Manila.

The group said that an alternative way to put into perspective the daily traffic cost is through the price of rice in Metro Manila. It said that the retail price of the staple as of Nov. 21 was at P27 per kilo for regular milled rice and P50 per kilo for the premium variant, or an average of around P35.

MAP said that the cost of transportation in Metro Manila is around 25 to 29 percent of the cost of the product, but the number may be higher or at 40 percent for rice as there are many costs involved from sources in the provinces to retail.

“Thus, a reduction of transport cost to even 25 percent (from 40 percent) would result in a 60 percent reduction in the cost of rice – from P35/kilo to P14/kilo. An impossible dream? Perhaps but worth fighting for as one can imagine the increase in productivity, the improvement in the quality of life for the commuter while also bringing down the cost of food to a level accessible to many more persons,” the MAP said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the group also gave suggestions to resolve the traffic situation. One is the compliance with the fines and regulations of traffic violations. Aside from that, the group said that the government should maximize and regulate existing public utility vehicles (PUVs) to move more commuters faster by putting more commuter transport vehicles on the road at the right time along with having a system to quickly unload and load passengers at designated stops and not allowing them to linger.

The group said that PUVs must be given priority on road space by allocating more lanes. It also said PUVs should be exempted from the number coding scheme during rush hours.

“It boils down to strict enforcement of traffic rules; strict supervision of traffic personnel and accountability imposed; PUVs to be operated efficiently as main people mover system, not private cars;  PUV lanes to be used efficiently to move PUVs, not for parking or idling,” the group said. – Louella Desiderio

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