COST OF TRAFFIC
At least P132 million worth of man-hours is wasted and economic opportunities lost in one day in Metro Cebu because of traffic congestion.
Actual losses are likely to be more, since civil engineer Fortunato “Jun” Sanchez, Jr. used Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) figures as of 2012 yet in his computations.
A study has yet to be conducted on the economic cost of traffic congestion in Metro Cebu.
Sanchez, chairman of the subcommittee on infrastructure and utilities of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), said he made his own computations after his request that the cost of traffic in Metro Cebu be included in JICA’s Mega Cebu roadmap went unheeded.
Manufacturers and other employers in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities are expected to lose man-hours — or the amount of work that one person can do in an hour — as some employees come in late.
“Daghan na kaayo’g ma-late ani (many will be late because of this),” said Donato Busa, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He was confident, however, that the business sector will be able to weather the congestion that will be worsened by the repair work on the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge a month from now.
“We (businesses) will be able to withstand the months-long congestion, but the cost of doing so will be very, very high,” Busa said.
Melanie Ng, president of Ng Khai Development Corp., said that in anticipation of the traffic congestion last week, her employees coming from Lapu-Lapu left their homes at least two hours earlier than usual.
In the long run, she said this might adversely affect the health of the workers, who come home late at night because of the traffic and wake up early to be able to get to work on time, leaving little time for rest.
Businesses also have to contend with suppliers, visitors or clients canceling meetings due to the traffic, said Roy Lotzof, president of the Cebu Leads Foundation, Inc.
“When my guests found out about the traffic last Tuesday, they all canceled our meetings. We lose business because our clients do not want to spend two hours stuck in traffic,” he said.
If businesses want to avoid traffic, Sanchez said they will have to start making deliveries after 9 p.m. when the roads are less clogged. But then, overhead costs will increase because of overtime pay.
Busa said some local manufacturers may raise prices to compensate for the additional overhead costs.
At the very least, consumers should be ready for additional delivery charges of P100 to P200, he said.
The Mandaue Chamber has prepared some proposals to ease the impact of congestion on their members and their employees.
Busa said they hope to present these to Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu Mayors Jonas Cortez and Paz Radaza as soon as possible.
The first suggestion from the group was for the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge to be used only by motorists.
Another suggestion was to build a temporary bridge underneath the Mandaue-Mactan bridge while it is under construction.
However, this will disrupt the ferries along the Mactan Channel. The bridge will also be rendered unusable during the rainy season.
The local governments might also want to use the boardwalk behind Singapore School Cebu in Mandaue City, Busa said.
Buses can travel from Parkmall to the boardwalk. Passengers can then take ferries out to Lapu-Lapu City, docking at Cebu Yacht Club, which is near the Mactan Economic Zone.
Finally, Busa said commuters could take it upon themselves to walk the length of the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.
At both ends of the bridge, public transportation services will be made available to them, Busa said.
Sanchez of MCDCB said failure to find workable solutions before the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge is closed to traffic for repairs in one month would result in bigger losses in productivity and fuel costs, among others.
JICA’s transport study in 2012 estimated the economic cost of traffic congestion in Metro Manila at P2.4 billion. This was projected to increase to P6 billion by 2030.
The study counted losses in terms of man-hours, higher fuel costs, health impact on working class, increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and wasted economic opportunities.
Taking into account the 2010 population of 11.8 million for Metro Manila and 2.6 million for Metro Cebu and assuming that traffic volume in Metro Cebu is only about a quarter of that in Metro Manila, Sanchez said traffic congestion in Metro Cebu caused losses of at least P132 million last year.
“I used Metro Cebu (13 local government units from Carcar City to Danao City with a population of 2.6 million). Cebu’s population is about 22 percent of Metro Manila. Manila loses about P2.4 billion per day, and 22 percent of P2.4 billion is P528 million,” Sanchez said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
“I assumed traffic in Cebu was one-fourth as bad as in Manila, so one-fourth of P528 million is P132 million,” he added.
The Mandaue-Mactan Bridge was partially closed on Feb. 8 – 9 to pave the way for repairs, causing a horrendous traffic jam. The bridge was reopened to two-way traffic while officials looked for ways to avert damage to a major water pipeline attached to the bridge. It will be partially closed again after one month.
Traffic is already bad in Mandaue City, where two major roads are undergoing improvement.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.