No, reviving the odd-even scheme will not solve Metro Manila’s traffic problem

EDSA traffic september 2015
Reviving the odd-even scheme, as Aquino suggested, will not solve Metro Manila's traffic woes (Photo credits: Jim Bryan Hernando)

“Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable!”

It is both laughable and infuriating to think how merely two hours of rains can paralyze the nation’s capital just like that. There’s no other way to put it: the extreme traffic jam and flash floods experienced by countless Filipinos last Tuesday night showed just how badly mismanaged Metro Manila is.

That incompetence goes all the way up to Malacanang. You may remember that two weeks ago, President Benigno Aquino III floated the idea of re-implementing the odd-even scheme on a weekly basis with the aim of reducing the number of vehicles using the roads.

The President, for some inexplicable reason, described this as the “most radical” solution he can think of. His proposal is as idiotic as his claim last year that the worsening traffic situation in the country is indicative of economic progress.

EDSA traffic september 2015
Reviving the odd-even scheme, as Aquino suggested, will not solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes
(Photo credits: Jim Bryan Hernando)

Truth be told, the odd-even traffic scheme will not solve traffic congestion in Metro Manila since it will only favor rich families with two or more cars. This will just worsen and increase the number of people commuting via buses, jeepneys, and MRT and LRT – which everybody knows is already a major problem.

It will also create an extra burden to workers and employees who simply want to arrive in their respective offices and place of work on time. If Aquino will have his way, more people will suffer the same daily routine endured by commuters of LRT/MRT, buses, jeepneys, among others. People will also have to deal with the possibility of chronic tardiness late as well as exposure to many risks – accidents, pollution, communicable diseases, thieves (hold-uppers, pickpockets).

A better solution is to encourage people to carpool with their family and friends everyday. Just imagine how the traffic situation would improve if cars travelling with only one or two passengers are reduced by half. Another idea that is worth supporting is the “Proof of Parking Space” bill introduced by Valenzuela Rep. Win Gatchalian last year.

Unless the government is able to think long-term and not settle for band-aid solutions, then the traffic woes experienced not just in Metro Manila but in urban centers all over the country will not be solved.

Quotes worth pondering:

*“If the city decides to buy cars, buycars, buy cars and buy more cars… a day will come when nothing will move. Should planners allow that to happen?” – New Delhi High Court decision on a 2012 road use case 


* “A Developed Country is not a place where poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation”

 – Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogota, Colombia


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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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