‘Last mile’ routes for trucks open on Monday
TRAFFIC gridlocks in Metro Manila are expected to worsen next week with the opening of 24-hour last mile truck routes on Monday.
Under the scheme approved during a Cabinet meeting last week, trucks that have been given tags by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will be allowed to use “last mile routes” on all hours of the day for the next two weeks.
These routes include lanes on Roxas Boulevard and Quirino Avenue for trucks going to the South Luzon Expressway, and A. Bonifacio Ave. for trucks bound for the North Luzon Expressway.
The last mile routes are considered express lanes that will allow trucks to deliver their cargo to their destinations without fear of being caught.
The Cabinet agreed to implement the scheme to clear the congestion in Manila ports.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said trucks may also be seen along Aurora Boulevard, Sucat Road and Nagtahan even during truck ban hours.
Secretary Jose Rene Almendras earlier said the government decided to give some trucks all-day access to some routes to clear congestion in the Port of Manila.
“That’s only for the next two weeks. Rather than have our economy be affected adversely by this congestion, let’s solve the problem in this two-week period so that things can flow better from hereon. We are going to ask for the indulgence of the motoring public,” he said.
The last mile truck routes will be open from September 8 to 22.
Malacañang had appealed to motorists to bear with the expected heavy traffic.
On Friday, motorists going to NLEX endured horrendous traffic jams that stretched on for miles starting from Balintawak in Quezon City and from Meycauayan to Quezon City because of the huge number of cargo trucks going north.
The Palace said truckers were ordered to move their empty containers from Manila to Subic.
“That is what we are doing that is why many truckers are taking this time to really move out their empty containers and move them to Subic because there will be a fine imposed,” he said.
Malacañang on Saturday apologized for the traffic gridlocks, saying the ports in Manila had to be cleared in preparation for the flood of shipments expected before Christmas.
“We recognize that the traffic should not impede business and productivity and so we are expecting to finish moving the empty containers this weekend because new charges will be implemented by September 8 if empty containers continue to occupy Port of Manila,” Lacierda said in a radio interview.
“We really need to decongest the Port of Manila and transfer the containers to Batangas or Subic because the presence of empty containers are already turning the port to a warehouse. We really need to do this because the imports are expected to rise for the Christmas season,” the Malacañang official added.
To solve the monstrous congestion at NLEX, Tolentino on Saturday created ‘Task Force Pantalan’ to speed up the flow of vehicles in the area.
In a press conference, the MMDA chief said the task force will work for two weeks starting yesterday up to September 21 and will be headed by National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) deputy regional director for operations Allen Bantolo and MMDA Traffic Discipline Office director Chris Saruca.
The task force will jointly monitor four critical areas—A. Bonifacio, C3, R10 and Del Pan Bridge.
The MMDA will open five counterflow lanes starting in Camachile to Del Pan.
The counterflow lanes were opened Saturday afternoon in Camachile Road to Monumento Road, A. Bonifacio Avenue in Caloocan City, C3 Road to Artel and Del Pan bridge.
Tolentino said NLEX personnel and MMDA enforcers will assist in traffic management.
He said the MMDA has asked NLEX officials to provide a shuttle bus for affected passengers who will exit in Baesa Road in Caloocan.
“In C3, a counterflow lane will be implemented so that vehicles may pass through Balagtas, B. Serrano and M.H. Del Pilar Streets. There will be a counterflow lane in A. Bonifacio going to Balintawak as the need arises, said Tolentino. In Navotas, there will be double lanes open for trucks all the way to Manila. The Del Pan Bridge will be used as a counterflow lane. All these measures will be implemented until September 21,” Tolentino said.
He said the monstrous traffic jams was due to the huge volume of trucks going to and from the port of Manila.
Meanwhile, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian agreed that the Subic and Batangas City ports can accommodate more shipments because they have a combined capacity of 600,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
“Goods heading to Northern and Southern Luzon may instead be assigned to the Subic and Batangas City ports, respectively. These ports have to be fully utilized,” Gatchalian, the vice chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said in a statement.
“Logistical issues cause both businessmen and ordinary folks to shell out additional expenses, affecting the prices of goods but business operations and employment. Such issues have to be immediately addressed coming to the Christmas season where there will be higher demand from consumers,” he added.