On BRT cancellation fears

October 24,2016 - 09:24 PM

WHILE Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is visibly predisposed about his plans to fix traffic in his city, we regret that our own officials in Mandaue are not as emphatic with our traffic and transportation woes. So far, (Mandaue) TEAM’s only initiative that we’ve heard to resolve traffic is to implement a no-stopping rule in UN Avenue. While we appreciate that move, we don’t see a solid measure to decongest traffic in the rest of Mandaue. Mind everyone that traffic is not the only problem here. Thousands of vehicles ply the Mandaue part of Cebu North Road daily. But residents still don’t get enough transport to go to their destinations. Proof of this is the number of Mandaue commuters lining by the road waiting for jeepneys in the morning to get to school, work, the market, and elsewhere. And wait till you have seen the situation in the afternoon and at night when commuters are coming off from work and night shift workers leave for their offices.

Of course people already know that traffic in Mandaue is humongous, if not the worst. One thing about us residents of Mandaue is we have come to accept everything and thought that this country has seen worse traffic in EDSA until Waze traffic app described traffic in Metro Cebu as “the worst.” And, a good chunk of that traffic is experienced in Mandaue.

It is because of this yielding attitude and accepting “what’s available” (of the transportation situation) that makes the city seem very provincial despite the fact that it is a city and part of what’s supposed to be a highly urbanized metropolitan area. People in Manila are quick to denounce and criticize their officials once their LRT and MRT systems bog down or when the buses are not enough. Not the case here.
They can say that there’s a lot of jeepneys available plying the Cebu North Road. But if you look closer, the jeepneys we have here are the smaller multicabs (walo-walo) where passenger space tends to be cramped and can only carry a maximum of 17 passengers. While we have no qualms about riding a cramped multicab jeepney ducking with our heads, the thought of the greater commuting populace deserving a better form of transport leaves one hoping to see some changes.

If one seriously thinks about it, during rush hour when a multicab has maximized its full capacity, then it has only brought 17 people to, say, Mercado from Jagobiao. And they have used up the road space for only 17 pax. Now, imagine if its a bigger, 24 (or more) capacity Sarao or a converted Isuzu truck jeepney. Seven passenger difference may not be that much, but think about 10 traditional jeepneys versus 10 multicabs. That is 70 pax total difference and no need to duck for the passengers. A bus may cost too much for operators, if the goal is to carry as much commuters. And Mandaue may not be as affluent or posh as Cebu with the latter planning to get big buses running around the city (with their BRT project). Bigger jeepneys conform with operators’ budget and the passengers’ demand.

Multicabs can still be used for jeepney-less areas and villages like Cabancalan, Canduman, Pagsabungan, H. Cortes, and maybe Paknaan going to the highway instead of using unsafe and rickety, overloaded tricycles which, if combined with pot-holed roads, pose more danger to the riding commuter (and a lot of times with unprofessional drivers). This mode of transportation should have already been phased-out long ago.

If the argument is multicabs are not Mandaue-based (from other municipalities and cities in the north and only pass through Mandaue en route to SM City or Banilad/Talamban area) and the city can’t impose rules on the operators, then why not ask the help of the provincial government? The government should require only bigger transport to be registered for public utility.

It is hoped that Mandaue City Hall can come up with a refined action plan to curb traffic and remedy the inadequate transportation for its residents. It can start by requiring bigger capacity jeepneys when operators apply for permits within Mandaue. Bigger jeepneys can carry more passengers. Hence, help curb traffic and inadequate transport altogether.

This piece for Mail is by Edito J. Ong of Banilad, Mandaue City.

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TAGS: Cabancalan, Canduman, Cebu City, Cebu City Mayor, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, decongest, EDSA, jeepney, mandaue, Mandaue City Hall, mayor Tomas Osmeña, Metro Cebu, Pagsabungan, Paknaan, public utility, TEAM, Tomas Osmeña, traffic, transport, transportation, tricycle, UN Avenue, Waze

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