EACH individual, either as a passenger or a motorist caught in a traffic jam, loses a total of 528 productive hours or 22 days every year by sitting idly for at least two hours every day, according to a study.
In his six-page Road Use Rationalization Proposal submitted in November last year, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member Ariel Inton claimed that since each person spends at least two hours every working day in traffic, a total of 44 hours are wasted per month.
“A person who spends two hours in traffic everyday therefore spends 22 straight days every year sitting on a vehicle doing nothing and being unproductive,” the paper, a copy of which was furnished The Manila Times, said.
“It is high time that we do something about this problem,” Inton said.
His proposal was specifically directed at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) whose chairman, Francis Tolentino, dismissed it for being a “stupid idea.”
Inton countered that months after he presented the proposal, the government is practically implementing the same now.
“So, to MMDA Chairman Tolentino, who’s stupid now?” Inton, a former city councilor of Quezon City, said.
One of Inton’s questioned but “doable” proposals is the adoption of a two-day number-coding scheme, meaning instead of just one day, a vehicle would be prevented to travel for two days, except during the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. window.
Under this scheme, those with license plates ending in 1,2,3 and 4 will be prohibited on Mondays; 3,4,5 and 6 on Tuesdays; 5,6,7 and 8 on Wednesdays; 7,8,9 and 0 on Thursdays and 9,0,1 and 2 on Fridays.
Another option is to compel private vehicles to take alternate routes rather than travel along EDSA and other busy thoroughfares to give priority to public utility vehicles (PUVs).
Inton earlier explained that the best way for government to solve the traffic problem is by “giving top priority” to all PUVs that ply Metro Manila streets daily.
“We must prioritize these mass transport systems by allowing them first use of our roads. Remember that people who take these PUVs are ordinary workers, students and other simple individuals who only want to arrive at their destination on time. We are not against those who can afford their own vehicles but this is just a matter of prioritization,” he explained.
A lawyer, Inton admitted that he used to take a jeepney and tricycle to and from his place of work.
“There is no shame in taking a ride on PUVs. However, we must make sure that people arrive at their destination on time. That means at a certain period of the day, only PUVs should be allowed to ply major routes,” he said.
“The advantage of having your own vehicle is that you can take alternate routes. This convenience or privilege is lacking in those who ride PUVs because these vehicles have specific routes where they can not deviate from,” he said.