In preparation for the influx of passengers on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has activated “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Undas 2016” to ensure the safety and reliability of various modes of transportation.
The DOTr has directed all its attached agencies to be on heightened alert and make sure public hotlines are operational and properly manned.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will conduct an inspection of buses, it said. Help Desks will be placed in terminals to ensure that queries and concerns of commuters will be swiftly and efficiently attended to.
The LTFRB will issue special permits to bus operators valid from October 29 to November 3, as more buses will be needed to transport those who will be travelling to their respective provinces.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will enhance its public assistance programs by prioritizing tasks in line with guiding motorists.
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will deploy additional personnel at toll plazas where traffic build-up is expected.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has formed a management team consisting of airport managers to oversee operations during the peak days. Passengers can ask for assistance and information from help desks manned by the MIAA operations group, the airport police and medical teams.
The Philippine National Railways will maintain the existing number of train trips in the Metro Manila South Commuter and Bicol Commuter Services. There will be 36 daily trips from Tutuban to Alabang/Mamatid and four to Naga-Sipocot. One-stop help desks will be set up in terminals and stations, aided by quick response teams.
The Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT) will deploy around 2,900 personnel to man the roads of the metropolis.
|The number-coding scheme in Metro Manila will be lifted from October 31 to November 1. However, to further assist commuters going to and from their provinces, Number coding will be lifted only for provincial buses on November 2 and 3.
The Maritime Industry Authority will monitor all domestic passenger ships prior to departure to ensure that applicable rules and regulations are complied with, particularly the “no overloading of passengers and cargoes” policy.
No diggings, mall sales
For its part, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reiterated the traffic regulations the i-ACT would be implementing starting next week to reduce traffic congestion during the Christmas season.
This includes the moratorium on all excavations or diggings on all national and city roads starting midnight of November 1 up to midnight of January 9, 2017, the Expanded Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or number-coding scheme, and “no window hours” starting November 2.
There will also be a ban on weekday mall sales starting November 1 up to January 9, 2017. Shopping malls will adjust their operating hours to 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. during the same period. Mall deliveries will only be from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting November 1 to January 9, 2017. Deliveries of perishable goods such as food and ice cream are exempted, however.
“These traffic-alleviating measures are intended to facilitate the free flow of motorists and Christmas shoppers even before December,” MMDA officer in charge Tim Orbos said.
I-ACT said the early implementation of these measures would offset the usual 20 percent increase in traffic volume during Christmas season, when Metro Manila sees an influx of people and vehicles from nearby provinces such as Cavite, Laguna and Bulacan.
Partnership with Waze
The MMDA has partnered with Waze through the latter’s Connected Citizens Program, a two-way data exchange program with governments worldwide. MMDA is the first Philippine government agency to partner with Waze.
Orbos said the MMDA would share with Waze data on traffic-congested areas, road accidents, flooding and road closures, so the public would be given the best possible route real-time.
“They can now better decide on what roads to traverse to get to their destination, as they can avoid areas that are heavily congested,” he said.