NCR traffic slowing to a crawl

Barometer Spanning 23.8 kilometers and passing through Caloocan, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay, EDSA mirrors traffic conditions elsewhere in Metro Manila. ANALY LABOR

The traffic situation in Metro Manila, with Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) serving as barometer, is getting worse, the Metropolitan Manila Development Administration (MMDA) reported.

According to MMDA data, the speed of travel along EDSA has slowed down to an average of 16.14 kilometers per hour (KPH) last November compared to the 19.37 per kph average in previous months.

Among other factors, the increasing number of private vehicles was blamed by the agency for the further slowing down of traffic along EDSA, the premier highway in the National Capital Region.

Vehicle volume rose by 20 percent in Metro Manila and by 4.07 percent on EDSA, the MMDA said.

While the carrying capacity of EDSA is only 6,000 vehicles per hour in each direction, 6,700 to 7,000 vehicles, mostly privately owned, are using it every hour, it added.

As this developed, incoming MMDA traffic manager Bong Nebrija, the head of the MMDA special operations task force, vowed to instill discipline among motorists.

Known for his run-ins with motorists and sidewalk vendors as head of the MMDA special operations team, Nebrija will succeed Rodolfo Calpito as chief traffic inspector.

MMDA spokesman Celine Pialago said heavier traffic in NCR may also be attributed to more people from the provinces participating in pre-Christmas activities like parties and light shows.

“Only few car owners are taking public transport,” Pialago said.

Among the measures being implemented to ease traffic in Metro Manila are the number coding, shifting mall hours, the “nose-in, nose-out” rule for buses, the banning of provincial buses on EDSA, total truck ban, the moratorium on road repairs, the opening of so-called Mabuhay Lanes and road-clearing operations.

Heavy traffic in the metro has been resulting to lost man-hours.

“I really need to adjust my time,” a commuter said. A bus driver grumbled, “With only three rounds my earnings has been reduced to P300.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Transportation Committee approved the other day the Traffic Management Act, which will cover urban areas like Metro Manila.

Among the proposed law’s provision is the designation of the secretary of the Department of Transportation, at present Secretary Arthur Tugade, as Traffic Czar.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia expressed high hopes Nebrija can spell a big difference in easing traffic flow. “Starting Monday, Bong Nebrija will have a new big role — managing traffic along EDSA,” he said.

“Bong is a big loss to the task force, but we need the kind of personality that he has on how to discipline road users and inspire traffic enforcers along EDSA,” Garcia added.

Currently MMDA has 427 traffic enforcers deployed at EDSA in three shifts. Nebrija said MMDA is advocating cooperation and discipline. “It is not an easy task but we are not backing up on the assignment given to us,” he said.

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