EDSA Boulevard should serve as a prime example that something needs to be done about the traffic situation in Metro Manila. The projects and programs laid out in this article are decidedly radical in nature, but are possible when completed in cooperation with a Financial Organization like GIDIFA. If these programs were to prove successful in Metro Manila and more specifically on EDSA Boulevard, there should be little doubt left that they could be successfully implemented across the entire nation. The key to its success would not only be its ability to clear up the traffic problems on EDSA however, but to be implemented in such a way that it supports and retains the entrepreneurial spirit of the Philippine People and those that are making their living in the current mess.
The traffic along EDSA Boulevard is a constant source of headaches for commuters and transportation operators alike. Whether it is two in the afternoon or two in the morning makes very little difference in regards to the numbers of people and the flow of traffic there. Buses and taxis fight for position and, while they are quite capable in their own rights as professional drivers, create awkward and difficult situations for other commuters in their personal vehicles. For the professional driver, maneuvering around EDSA Boulevard is a very real job in every sense of the word, and requires a great deal of work and skill on the part of the professional drivers. Their success is very well noted in the exceedingly low number of injuries and fatalities along this very hazardous stretch of road way. They should be duly accorded the respect that they have earned and deserved.
For the average person attempting to navigate EDSA, this does create some equally interesting and difficult challenges as well. Unused to such tenuous maneuvering, the average driver is not generally well-enough trained to be in playing auto-tag in and around a field otherwise full of professionals all jockeying to be the proverbial first in line. Again, credit should be given where credit is due. The average commuter along EDSA seems to do equally well and seems to deserve an equal amount of credit for the comparatively low injury and fatality rates … especially given the vast numbers of commuters up and down this road on a daily basis. Would it not however, be better for everybody involved if there were more viable solutions that could be implemented?
The LRT and MRT lines were installed and have to some degree been successful in reducing the traffic levels along EDSA and throughout Manila, but apparently not enough. This of course, would depend on who is asked about the success of these programs. There do seem to be as many people in favor of an expansion of these programs as there are detractors who are still upset that it was ever allowed to be implemented to begin with. Still, despite the fact that they are constantly filled to capacity and seemingly plagued by other delays and issues of concern, these rail lines are not a complete solution in and of themselves. What if public transportation along the major arteries coursing through Manila were provided to commuters for free?
There are both good and bad points about such a system, and to say it would be difficult to implement would be a gross understatement, but it would be possible. Any such program would first and foremost, need to be structured in such a way that it did not adversely impact those businesses and business owners who are already working in these areas … but it must not be done in such a way so that new competition is inhibited either. It would also need to be structured in such a way that payment would be guaranteed that is commensurate with the current rates and the ability of these business interests to earn an income consistent with rates and rate increases as they occur. If the actual problem of traffic were to be addressed as well, schedules would have to be drawn up to allow the buses to run on some sort of schedule. The same should hold true for any expansion of the LRT and MRT lines as may be introduced in the future.
While a great many different options have been presented, the most viable among them seems to be a system of tracking that allows for each and every rider to be scanned, likely through the use of a transit card or other means of tracking when the rider gets on and when the rider exits the bus or train system. The biggest objection seems to be that a great many people would fail to swipe their cards on exist, but such a system can easily be implemented. This system could be further enhanced through penalties for a failure to swipe the cards on exit up to and including the cancellation of the cards being abused.The cards would not necessarily have to contain any personal information so any fears or concerns about tracking the movement of people could be alleviated. On those rare occasions when someone has been arrested with one in their possession, its usage may be tracked to determine whether or not they traveled to or from a certain area at a certain point in time but there should not be any means available to track any individual person. There is no foreseeable need to track any individual.
What is necessary is the ability to insure that the owners of the buses and the operators of the rail systems are paid in accordance with the actual riders in a method as close to what is currently available as possible. Most of this infrastructure is already in place for the light rail lines through Manila but it may be a bit more involved when it comes to the buses. The less disruption to any functioning system, the better off everyone will be. If there is any plausible point of contention remaining regarding the business owners, it is the ability to establish schedules for the buses to run along. Suffice it to say that there is still a great deal of research to be completed, but it is quite feasible that a reasonable run of schedule can be established that would be “fair and equitable” to all of the companies currently running bus services in and around Metro Manila.
The funding for such a program could be established by GIDIFA in a trust account that works in much the same way that a private hedge fund does. Budgeting would be based on an increase in ridership as free programs do tend to increase the number of passengers, though not as much as would perhaps be expected. Still, some allowances must be made for this surge in the number of people using public transportation. Additional efforts need to be made and negotiations conducted with those business owners who do remain as the buses are seriously in need of renovation and repairs if nothing else, to help stem the pollution that they vent out each and every trip up and down the boulevard. That however, should be a different article all its own, but it would seem for all intents and purposes that free transportation up and down the main thoroughfares is not only desirable, but necessary and ultimately, inevitable.