Metro Manila traffic congestion – getting to the church on time

metro traffic thedailystar dot net

[Photo credit: thedailystar.net]

By Chempo

In 2013 the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) did a study on the traffic problems of Metro Manila (MM) and concluded that the traffic, infrastructure and housing problems of the city can no longer be solved by tackling the National Capital Region (NCR) alone. JICA proposed a plan for a “Greater Capital Region” to cover the NCR and neighboring Central and Southern Luzon provinces.

President Aquino has approved a road map for a congestion-free MM by 2030 based on the JICA proposal. This road map is comprehensively designed to meet long-term strategic policy, urban planning, environmental goals, and poverty eradication. This is the link to the main points of this road map: Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas. (For a detailed study, also refer to: Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure, NEDA.)

The JICA proposal calls for a stunning $57 billion government and private party spending over the next 15 years. The multiplier effect from this will be significant since in the Philippines, the marginal propensity to consume is definitely higher than to save. Unfortunately, given the political in-fightings, corruption, and troublesome legislative and judiciary interference, 2030 does not seem like a probable date for completion. Nevertheless, this 15 year roadmap is noteworthy in a country that has seldom made any medium and long term plans. It behooves Filipinos to select the next president carefully for this dream of a better quality of life in MM to have a slim chance of being realized.

Metro Manila’s daily traffic gridlock causes misery to everyone, degrades the environment and severely affects economic productivity. The JICA roadmap is comprehensive but it’s way over the horizon. The little that has been done to alleviate the situation NOW are mostly knee jerk and reactive. Let’s explore what else can be done in the meantime.

1. Road widening and more roads:

MM is characterized by dense cores and dense widespread periphery. There is limited scope for more roads or widening of roads. Overhead carriageways are options, but these are big ticket items which I’ll not discuss here.

2. Electronic Road Pricing (ERP):

Basically, this makes it costly for people to drive into certain areas, like a Central Business District thus forcing people to take other modes of transport. Or it could be used on EDSA, much like toll gates on expressways. ERP has been successfully implemented in Stockholm and Singapore. In London they have a slight variation they call congestion charge. This is a big ticket item project so, like overhead carriageways, I’ll leave it out.

3. Road diversion:

This is what they are trying to do at EDSA. Road diversion and road widening may ease congestion in the short term, but over time, traffic will build up again. It suffers from the principle of triple convergence – the temporary reduction in traffic will be taken up by (a) other travelers from other routes, (b) people changing their travel times to take advantage of the lesser traffic in EDSA, and (c) people using other modes of transport, switching to vehicles and using EDSA.

4. Synchronised traffic lights:

For certain stretches of certain roads, traffic lights may be synchronized so that the flow is un-interrupted over a number of intersections. It’s green light all the way. This speeds up the flow.

5. Stagger time:

Schools, service providers, and offices can implement staggered working hours. This can relieve the strain of peak hour traffic.

6. Bus lanes:

Have special bus lanes but beware that this may be counter-productive when this lane is free whilst other ordinary lanes are congested. Bus lanes should not be 24×7. They should only be operative during peak hours. It should also not be exclusive; other vehicles can use the lanes but they MUST ALWAYS give way to buses.

7. Proper bus/van/jeepney stops:

Public passenger vehicles should not be allowed to stop at random. Proper sheltered stops should be built. The problem with MM is that with public transport services franchised out, LTRB is interested in collecting fees but does nothing for the public. Nobody is putting in the necessary infrastructures for public convenience. Come rain or shine, the public suffers. And yet, by bundling advertising rights and possibly a small store, building bus stops make good commercial sense. (Estrada built one recently which opened with great fanfare).

8. Bus stop bays:

The bus stops should be in a bay area as far as possible. This is critical to keep the lane free. Unfortunately, due to the dense built-up, this may not be possible all the time. Perhaps at some very congested points the government can acquire the lots from private owners (with adequate compensation) for the purpose of creating these bays.

9. Parallel secondary roads:

There are many secondary roads that run parallel to the major roads for long stretches. Taxis and smart commuters use these all the time. They turn right into these secondary roads and then turn back onto the major road few hundred meters ahead. These parallel secondary roads may be viewed as expansion of the major road. To make these diversions more effective, convert these secondary roads to one-way traffic, clear them of blockages and allow no parking.

10. Re-site services:

Many services, private or governmental, should be re-located out of congested areas. Case in point is the Jac Liner’s coach terminal along Buendia which is a serious choke point daily.

11. Parking:

All vehicles occupy space, whether on the road or parked. Due to poor planning, there is lack of parking spaces and roadside parking is the norm. A parking time-limit does nothing except inconvenience drivers, and actually adds to congestion because these owners need to dive off and re-park in another lot. It’s really silly.

Presently, most visitors to condos are left to park their cars on the roads. Office buildings and condominiums should provide mandatory number of parking lots for both occupants and visitors. The number of lots should be based on some reasonable ratios based on built-up areas.

12. Traffic discipline:

Lack of discipline due to both impunity and ignorance of traffic rules is a major issue. Education and enforcement needs to be beefed up. In particular, these are the areas :

– Illegal u-turns at junctions
– 3-point turns on a busy street
– Hogging at T-junctions
– Hogging at Box junctions
– Lane switching
– Slow vehicle hogging the faster lanes on the left
– SUVs hogging left lanes
– Double lane stopping/waiting
– Exiting parking lots/buildings.

Drivers here do not observe or understand the 3 simple rules on the road – (a) give way to the left, (b) do not impede the free flow of traffic, (c) minor road giving way to major road. Each time a vehicle exits a building, we see a security guard dashing out to stop traffic with 100 vehicles giving way to 1 car.

13. Pedestrian discipline:

Overflow of pedestrians onto the roads is a major problem in some areas. Once again, education, discipline and enforcement are necessary. Some jaywalking laws with punitive measures need to be imposed. However, there cannot be strong arm tactics without due consideration to pedestrians. There must first be clear walkways and convenient crossing points.

(In Singapore, we started off with a traffic regulation prohibiting jaywalking (just a directive form Transport Ministry – no laws need to be crafted), then educate the public (campaigns), then enforcement (police were very visible for a while) and after a few months, the discipline sank in and policing was no longer required. We cannot cross roads within 50 meters of pedestrian crossings. On busy streets, we construct overhead pedestrian bridges so vehicular traffic is un-impeded.)

14. Road clearance:

Commerce spills onto the roads everywhere. Just like the illegal squatters in the Novaliche area, where enforcing agencies do not act immediately, the roads will slowly be taken over by vendors. It’s so obvious that these road-side paraphernalia of commerce need to be cleared off the major roads. Perhaps they can be accommodated in some of the nearby side streets. Spruce it up a bit, throw in some lighting and viola you have a local commercial alleyway.

15. Traffic signage – right turn on red:

This often leaves drivers in doubt at certain junctions thus causing unnecessary stoppages. It would help if this is prominently indicated where appropriate.

16. Traffic signage – stop lines at intersections:

At some intersections there are no white stop lines, at others there are white stop lines for all lanes. It begets the question which is the major road and who should give way to whom? Bad signage impedes traffic flow.

17. Accident management – minor accidents:

Very often a minor accident holds up traffic for hours. I’m not quite sure of the laws here, but I think we should learn from other countries. Minor accidents (those not involving any injuries to persons) are matters for insurance companies to sort out. Drivers should take whatever photos they need or draw sketches etc, then move the vehicles to the side, take each other’s particulars and move off pronto. No police attendance is required. No drama is required.

Where there are injuries to persons, then of course you can’t remove the vehicles and police intervention is necessary.

18. Park n ride schemes:

This is basically a voluntary concept (driver’s choice) so it’s success hinges on convenience and some push and pull factors. Parking should be cheap, and the connecting ride should be convenient and cheap. The destination services should impose punitive surcharges for those driving there.

19. E-services:

Maximize the use of technology to reduce the need for personal visits. For example, e-banking, various governmental transactions, such as e-filing tax returns, inquiries on your SSS, etc.

20. Road works:

Road works are events that hamper traffic drastically. They need to be better managed to ensure time-line management, impose serious penalties for delays, monitor that contractors have sufficient on-site workers and effective machineries and are providing traffic guidance. If possible, schedule work during off-peak periods. When we built our underground MRT tunnels in Singapore, all land surface construction work on weekdays were done from midnight to 6am the following morning. By the morning, all road surfaces that were dug up were all covered with heavy metal sheets that vehicles could traverse. We experienced minimum traffic congestion for such a huge project.

21. Reduce private car population:

Road congestion is a function of (a) vehicle population and (b) kilometers of roads. You either reduce variable (a) or increase variable (b). There is no other option. In densely packed MM, building new roads (other than overhead carriageways) is nearly impossible. There is only the unpopular way of reducing the number of vehicles. Since trade and commerce is our lifeline, we can only reduce private car ownership. This may be done by:

21.1 Increase taxes on new vehicles

21.2 Impose quotas on new registration. (This requires some tender or raffle system on the demand side paying a special fee)

21.3 Make vehicle loans more expensive

21.4 Implement a policy of retiring old vehicles.

Side benefits from this: reduced number of older vehicles improves air quality; new source of funds from taxes and special fees can be channeled back to other efforts to reduce congestion.

The existing color-coding scheme obviously has not been a success for whatever reasons, whether people buy a second car or they use someone else’s car.

The caveat to private car ownership reduction is that it cannot be implemented without first improving the other modes of public transportation.

22. Other people transportation modes:

22.1 River boats – it’s good that this has been initiated. I’ll not discuss this.

22.2 MRT/LRT – I’ll not discuss this.

22.3 Public buses – the devil in the MM congestion is the public bus service. There is so much to expand here, but I’ll try to be brief.

a. Provincial buses – current system of small-time operators is not a problem. Just continue to rationalize city terminal locations, such as the Coastal Mall initiative.

b. City buses – current business model is privatized industry. There are too many small-time operators which are family-owned businesses. This means duplication and wastage in the industry, and it means lower capitalization which leads to inability to improve service levels, sans innovation.

Rationalize the number of operators to only 2 or 3 to maintain competition. These operators need to be larger public corporations so they have the funding capabilities, are professionally run and possibly listed on the Stock Exchange in time. Only then will this industry modernize to utilize technology for fleet management and data collection capabilities to understand travel patterns that enable more effective route planning.

c. Contracting model – This is a relatively new business model which a few coutries (eg. UK and Australia – Singapore is currently transitioning to this model) have adopted successfully. Perhaps it’s worth looking into. Basically, the Government owns and maintain all bus infrastructure such as depots, as well as operating assets such as buses and the fleet management system. The business of running the buses is contracted out. The operators merely run the buses for a contracted fee and all fare revenues go to the government. In this way, the government has the capability to understand travel needs and respond faster to changing demands.

22.4 Express vans – current franchise arrangement contains an inherent weakness. Passengers board at a specific terminus and alight along a specific route. The van then loops back to pick-up terminus, with drivers rushing like crazy as their earnings depend on the number of trips they can make. The streets of MM are filled with thousands of these empty return trips every day. LTRB needs to re-visit how these franchises are organized.

22.5 Vans and jeepneys – There are simply way too many of these on the roads and they are the worst culprits contributing to the traffic madness with their zipping in and out of lanes, double or triple lane stopping to pick up or drop off passengers in the middle of the roads. The fact that there is over-supply is evidenced by short waiting time of commuters.

I appreciate jeepneys are national icons, but they are really pollutant emitting machines and the way passengers double bend to move in the vehicle is rather demeaning. It’s high time to give the masa a more comfortable way to commute.

The LTRB franchise for vans (including the express vans) is a connivance that puts no value on the lives of the masa. Passenger loads way exceeds the manufacturers’ specifications. An 8-pax van is used to ferry 18 people. The term packed-sardines is appropriate. Seating arrangements are made all the way to the tail-end with no cushion for impact-absorption from a rear collusion. Surely this is in breach of the insurance cover?

Consider retaining some jeepneys for the icon that they are, and replace the rest and vans (including express vans) with mini-buses that have a bigger capacity. Some re-routing may be necessary. Re-positioning of the “last mile” vehicles (tri-cycles/pedicaps) may also be required. The outcome is fewer vehicles on the roads, more comfortable and safer rides.

22.6 Double-decker buses – consideration should be made to use these buses which double the carrying load. Overhanging electrical wires may be the killjoy.

22.7 Articulated & bi-articulated buses – best way to describe these are 2-coach and 3-coach buses. The carrying load is increased considerably but negotiating intersections in congested MM roads may be a problem. Some enterprising Pinoys in Subic have constructed a 5-coach bus which they call a road train. I seriously doubt a bi-articulated bus or the road train can ply the roads in MM. Articulated buses may possibly be used.

22.8 Public cycling system:- Just thinking out loud, but I wonder if this is possible in MM. The Chinese city of Hangzhou successfully implemented this. They have 67,000 bikes. People leave their cars at home and use bicycles to move within the city. Lots of tourists use them, too. Cheap rentals and bundled advertisement rights make it a commercial success. Climate and security issues work against MM unfortunately.

22.9 Walking – In many other larger cities people walk an average of kilometers daily. In MM, the weather, congestion, pollution, lack of walkways and lack of shelter make walking seem crazy. The least the city can do is to improve on pedestrian walkways and provide shelter when possible. This should encourage more to walk some distances.

23. Floods:

Most traffic comes to a crawl in the slightest of rainfall. City drains need to be unclogged and we needed it not now but 20 years ago. The LGUs need to prioritize this, yet hardly any work is being done in this area.

24. Car pooling:

The idea has been bandied about but in reality the success is unlikely. It’s an emotional thing. Drivers simply love to drive their own car. So if you have a campaign and say ” guys, lets cooperate, leave your car at home and hitch a ride with someone” – it’s not going to work.

Car pooling can only work with punitive measures and having a demarcated area where cars cannot enter with less than 4 occupants during peak hours. For example, the whole stretch of EDSA might be the demarcated area.

Cars with 4 occupants get free entry. If less than 4, drivers have 3 options :

(i) pick up some passengers at special designated pick-up points
(ii) buy a special pass label, put it on the windshield and be allowed entry
(iii) drive in and receive a summons.

This scheme requires :

a. All intersection leading into EDSA need to be manned – police or other officials who will hand out tickets to those cars with less than 4 occupants.
b. A special pass label for entry with less than 4. This needs to be priced very high. It can be purchased conveniently – booths at the intersections/7-11/mini-shop etc.
c. The fines need to be very punitive.
d. Designated pick-up points.
e. Adequate parking for cars near designated pick up points. These are for drivers who do not wish to drive in. They park their vehichles and hitch as ride in.

We had this car pooling scheme in Singapore before it was replaced by the electronic road pricing system. Our demarcated area was the Central Business Distcrict. The mechanics of the scheme worked for us but whether it significantly redued traffic is debatable. In MM, poor public transport and the lack of designated parking areas makes the scheme unlikely. The outcome will be lots of non-drivers hitching a free ride at the intersection which defeats the purpose.

Conclusion:

Most of the above are do-able but require the co-operation of public & private professionals, Govt decision makers, business leaders, developers, service providers, businesses, schools, interest groups and individuals. We are all stakeholders and we need to make sacrifices and roll-up our sleeves.

Or you prefer the easy way out. Vote Binay. He said at his recent meeting with some business group – “I’ll split DOTC to just DOT”. That will solve lots of problems.

 

Comments
272 Responses to “Metro Manila traffic congestion – getting to the church on time”
  1. karl garcia says:

    In the 90s I never saw an old car in Spore, I even wrote several letters to the editor of a broadsheet or two back then that we get rid of old cars. That won’t work here come to think of it. People just won’t let go.
    Even the cargo trucks are dilapidated,buses,jeeps.aargh.

    In Japan, those who can’t park there car can’t buy one.
    More expensive to own one .

    Last odd even scheme revival was poo pooed because the rich can buy more cars.

    • karl garcia says:

      I will just look for an old exchange between Irineo and myself regarding traffic.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, the old car, new car dilemma, like old jeepneys and new buses, and high fees for entering downtown, don’t work because they punish those who are just able to get by as it is, and that is a whole lot of people. But I think there are huge nuggets to find that can clear up traffic and too many jeepneys with too many abuses is one of them. But there have to be alternatives. I know there is an e-trike program in place, but I think there ought to be a major mid-sized bus program implemented that takes two jeepneys off the streets for every bus put on. Another systemic problem with Philippine transportation are the driver’s unions/organizations that seem to have more sway than public convenience. It may be wise to identify one or two screaming topics that the public can rally about, as they did about the Uber ban, to get the regulators working for THE RIDERS instead of business people who pay them or buy drinks and girls for them.

      • “there ought to be a major mid-sized bus program implemented that takes two jeepneys off the streets for every bus put on.”

        Again this was something they thought of in Marcos days – disclaimer I am everything but a loyalist but they did do some stuff right – the state-owned Metro Manila Transit Corporation was established, including express buses to Makati. Don’t know who first banned jeepneys on EDSA, I think that may have been in Marcos days as well, when I was a teenager and went to Cubao / Ali Mall no more jeepneys on EDSA anymore…

    • chempo says:

      In Singapore we retire old cars by way of disincentives. To buy a new car we tender for a COE (Certificate of Entitlement). COEs are divided into a few classes according to cc of engines. Sometimes the COE may turn out to be more expensice than the car itself. Govt controls the number of new cars permitted. The COEs is for ten years. Upon expiry, if you choose to not to retir the car, you pay for COE extension for 5 or 10 years. For the extension, they hit us with much higher annual road taxes. So there is a point where it’s not economically viable to retain old cars. So in a year when COE appears to be low, people junk their old cars and get a new one.

      In Japan in the earlier years of their industrialisation, cars awere on the road for 4 years. After that they re-condition them and export out. That was the governments way of promoting their car industry. It sure was a hell of a success.

      • karl garcia says:

        Now, it is Korea’s turn to export second hand vehicles to our welcome arms.

      • chit navarro says:

        and New Zealand imports most of its fleet from Japan – as we are on the same right hand side driving. But NZ is one of the very few countries that strictly implements Warrants of Fitness (WoF) for vehicles and cars running without WoF attract heavy fines…. Hence, very, very seldom would one see cars break-down on the roads. And traffic ruels are implemented very strictly. Majority of cars here are about 10years or older but are all roadworthy…. I proposed the concept to the LTO bigwigs then but it takes a strict collaboration between vehicle inspectors and repairers and car owners for this to succeed…

        • Chempo says:

          Once again its discipline n responsibilities to get things organised. LTO brought in 2 exhaust checking few years ago. That’s gone AWOL. Still searching for it. In Singapore we have annual inspection, very convenient. Just drive there, mechanic takes over, we go to the end of inspection line, our car comes out with report. That’s in. Within 15 mins

          • Joe America says:

            Exhaust checking in my town is not AWOL. It is first priority before they let you in the door to do the annual registration. The testing center is across the road and it takes me 10 minutes. The way I figure it, there are 500 cars in my town, so that’s about two cars per day for the testing center. Now motorbikes, I don’t know about. There are about 20,000 of them, but you should see the impound lot for people caught without registration. 1/4 hectare, wall to wall metal, to be auctioned off at some point in the future.

  2. Chempo, et al.

    What about promoting bicycling? There’s already a bunch of side-car bicycles that cater to neighborhoods over there, what about expanding their use (and individual bikes), by creating safe bicycle infrastructures? Similar to what the Dutch did, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o

    • “Climate and security issues work against MM unfortunately.”

      Rain should be an easy fix, no? https://youtu.be/sKKRni_W04s (umbrella for bicycle)

      On security, do you mean just from other traffic (see Dutch video), or criminal concerns? If criminal, probably police or traffic bike patrols will do.

      Is there a bicycling movement growing over there now?

      • Joe America says:

        Bicycling would be way, way, way down on my list of priorities. I think introducing them would create more problems than they’d solve. Covered pedestrian walkways would be high on my priority list. Austerity kinda deal. 🙂

        • Probably best to do the Dutch experiment in a small town or island, pre-over development, not the big cities– but, the vision should be to overhaul, much like the what the Dutch did. I don’t understand covered pedestrian walkways, are these the ped bridges or sidewalks? Why would they have to be covered?

        • chit navarro says:

          go to Ayala Center in Makati City – there is connecting walkways (on the street or up on building levels connecting to the commercial area; that one can walk from the end of Ayala Avenue to the other end in covered walkways. But people are just too lazy to walk – it’ easier and cheaper to get the taxi or the jeepney from one end to the other.; or call your personal driver and get driven from one area to the next. If only they would ban jeepneys and taxis in this area…!!! And designate special bus stops only..

          • Joe America says:

            Right, so discipline has to be imposed, as Chempo points out it was in Singapore, to get the goals accomplished. Raise taxi fares and then tax the fares more to build train lines. Make short-ride taxi trips high cost.

        • wjarko says:

          You gotta checkout what they did in Copenhagen, its pretty much bike haven. People there bike rain, sun, snow, blizzard, whatever the climate and they dont even have sheds. They have bike lanes everywhere and bikes can ride buses. 85% of their population use bikes. Their entire transport system planning is built around bicycles. I think it really interesting idea that government should pursue.

          But if we do pursue bikes fo, we probably need more bike parking slots and office showers should be provided in offices.

          • Joe America says:

            I’ve seen bike cities, and used to bike Los Angeles . . . Wilshire, Sepulveda, and all over. You’d never catch me riding in Manila, though. It would shorten my life expectancy too much.

            • True, breathing in the pollution and smog generated by the vehicles is worse than chain smoking…

              From Web MD – COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a lung disorder that makes it hard to breathe. The first symptoms can be so mild that people mistakenly chalk them up to “getting old.” People with COPD may develop chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. COPD tends to get worse over time.

              Many people with COPD also develop lung cancer — likely due to a history of smoking cigarettes.

              Add to that, the danger of risking literally your life and limbs due to undisciplined drivers and not properly maintained vehicles plying around the metropolis is truly terrifying.

              Biking in the countryside, maybe. In the city, aargh!

      • chempo says:

        By security I mean the rider and his bicycle will soon be parted unless he leash himself to the wheels.

    • Joe America says:

      I don’t think it is practical. There are too many vehicles and crossing patterns and no room for bike lanes. I do think planned pedestrian thoroughfares would remove a lot of convenience vehicles (motorcabs and jeepneys) from the streets.

      • I noticed there was really no concept of what a sidewalk was supposed to be over there. No uniformity, if there was a decent wide sidewalk it was used as parking, holes every where that can make people disappear, hell there were even sidewalks 6 inches wide (I didn’t whether to be thankful for that 6″ or pissed), and dirt with all sorts of broken glass protruding. Is there a uniform urban planning concept of a sidewalk (so and so width, with curb, etc. etc.) over there?

        • “Is there a uniform urban planning concept of a sidewalk (so and so width, with curb, etc. etc.) over there?”

          Don’t think there is any uniform urban planning in the Philippines – unfortunately.

        • chempo says:

          I appreciate in older part of cities everywhere it just can’t be helped. Cities grew from days when streets were made for horse-drawn carriages. I don’t know what sort of standards Philippines has for future road constructions. We don’t see things like pathways, road shoulders, proper drainage in most places.

    • karl garcia says:

      MMDA tried that,I wonder what happened?

      sorry about the tagalog news report LCpl_X and chempo.

  3. The core problem is that Metro Manila is operating far beyond any healthy capacity. The Greater Capital Region Plan proposes strengthening Cities in Calabarzon and Central Luzon like Batangas, Lucena, Cabanatuan, Angeles and Olongapo. This should be done sooner than later.

    Build elevated express train lines that lead to these five cities from major points in Manila: Central (NOT Tutuban), Monumento, NAIA (not Baclaran!), MOA, North Edsa. Give tax incentives to business that go out of Metro Manila and higher municipal taxes for business that stay there.

    As for traffic on EDSA, a Facebook poster identified that the main bottleneck seems to be the bridge at Guadalupe, so build two more bridges and elevated roads that cross the Pasig River.

    One cool crazy-sounding idea was to build elevated, airconditioned walkways with horizontal escalators (with a fee to enter of course) going from MOA to North Edsa, meaning people could partly walk and partly coast along these structures on the side of the street – maybe even bike?

    As for Metro Manila, it is high time to make sure the population DECREASES. The megacity is an ecological catastrophe waiting to happen. Has anybody researched on what the amount of water being consumed by all the tall buildings is doing to the aquifer – meaning causing the soil to sink? Twenty years more and the ground level may sink – this in combination with rising sea levels will cause large parts Manila to permanently become Waterworld, this is my common sense prediction.

    • Manila to Angeles – 80 km.
      Manila to Olongapo – 80 km.
      Manila to Batangas City – 106 km.
      Manila to Lucena City – 135 km.
      Manila to Cabanatuan City – 114 km.

      With not even speed trains, just average modern trains you can reach any of these places in just one hour or a little more. That would have to be heavily state-subsidized but it would allow for people to live in Metro Manila and commute – or the other way around.

      Since the LRT already occupies Taft, build the speed trains beside or on top of Roxas Boulevard or the Coastal Road. Have major stations at MOA, near Quirino Grandstand and somewhere in Malabon for a start, with first lines to Angeles/Olongapo/Clark Airport, then lines to NAIA/Cavite and Batangas City second. Lucena and Cabanatuan can be a later stage for the lines that pass by North Edsa and Makati/The Fort respectively.

      • Identify areas around new stations on the way where you can build malls, business centres, housing – involve the oligarchs in this (SM, Ayala Land) so that they have their share of the business, make a consortium where they also profit from operating the trains.

        Also build manufacturing zones near some train stations – potential areas for new jobs and urban poor resettlement including state-subsidized housing. Do not put up buildings on areas cleared in Metro Manila – build public parks to improve the quality of life and air.

        Strategically move major government institutions to the five new metro areas, including housing for their employees. Maybe even relocate Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame?

    • karl garcia says:

      In Tagaytay they are feeling the water shortage already, and they are just beginning to urbanize.

      http://www.rappler.com/nation/82916-tagaytay-development-water-shortage

      • Consuelo de bobo: Greater Istanbul also has a major water shortage which even the much better organized Turks are feeling. And traffic almost as bad as in Manila, especially the two Bosporus bridges are the bottlenecks, so Erdogan is planning a third bridge. Just recently they opened the Marmaray tunnel for the Istanbul MRT which goes under the Bosporus. Ferries cross the Bosporus all the time, I recently rode one of them…

    • The megacity is an ecological catastrophe waiting to happen.”

      Mary brought this up, awhile back, and we had a good talk,

      https://joeam.com/2015/08/04/postscript-to-the-2015-sona/#comment-130837

      Ireneo, are there movements, groups to try to counter-act these mega-city concepts over there? Less is more should be the mantra.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, the concept is in the recently published roadmap for infrastructure development around Metro Manila. http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FR-SUMMARY.-12149597.pdf

        I break the problem down into two parts, the regional solution, and the immediate problem in Metro, and tend to focus on the latter to let the infrastructure people do the former.

        One of the solutions, I think, is master authority to subordinate city road authorities and end the piecemeal solutions that has Manila doing one thing and Quezon City another. Force everyone onto the same page. End the chopped up solutions.

        • Is it just me or is this JICA group doing everything over there?

          • Joe America says:

            Hahahaha. I hope so. But I don’t really know.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            I had a look into this sometime ago, and it seems that Japan’s aid has been massive and consistent. Initially, it was war reparations but I think it has morphed into something else. Japan has been a helpful friend, and I am glad that Oz is contributing something as well, not only in Yolanda but to the navy.
            *****

            • Joe America says:

              From my blog of Jan 2015 that detailed this (there is a detailed table in the blog): https://joeam.com/2015/01/18/slicing-and-dicing-the-nations-investments-in-itself/

              I found this to be a rather interesting finding. Infrastructure development is funded by a great many different nations, a testament as to how much the Philippines is globally well connected. This was also seen in Yolanda relief contributions which came from around the world in large chunks.

              The two nations doing the greatest share of funding are the Philippines through PPP programs (P370 billion) and Japan (P109 billion). Other substantial funding sources are World Bank (P32 billion), Korea (P23 billion), Asian Development Bank (P23 billion), and Australia (P16 billion).

              Agencies from Austria, France, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United Kingdom all participate in funding.

              China does almost no funding at all, and the US Aid organization is funding a modest P9 billion. The US “pivot to Asia” is clearly about military defense and not investment. There is no “recolonization” going on.

              There are definitely foreign development funds willing to lend to good project. Negotiating the terms is one of the complexities of large projects that makes preliminary work go so slowly. One of the Philippines’ current dilemmas is whether or not to join the large Chinese development bank being put together.

        • Master authority was one thing – and I write this as an anti-Marcos person – the regime did well. The Metro Manila Commision was established to counter way too local solutions, Metro Manila was made into a region of its own. The MMDA is MMCs weak successor.

          In fact something similar to the JICA/NEDA roadmap was already drafted in Marcos days under the MMC, I think it was also called Mega Manila. C4, C5 and C6 were ideas hatched by technocrats commissioned by MMC back in the days as well, even EDSA flyover plans.

        • chempo says:

          Joe : “master authority to subordinate city road authorities and end the piecemeal solutions that has Manila doing one thing and Quezon City another. Force everyone onto the same page. End the chopped up solutions.”

          Joe, you KISS it well. That’s the bottomline plea to the government.

      • This is one reason I am for Duterte’s federalism – it would decrease the stranglehold of Metro Manila on everything in the Philippines. Joe made a great article “Manila is to Davao as New York is to LA” on developing cities in Mindanao. In my blog, I proposed moving government institutions to Cebu and Davao in order to increase the incentive for central power to develop these regions – and the Senate to Baguio to cool down their heads.

        De facto, Cebu and Davao are already developing, but the rapid transit plan for Davao that Duterte had ready years ago is rotting at NEDA in Manila, which prompted him to call NEDA “nada” – centralist Spanish legacy is strangling the entire country’s development.

        I doubt that there are any groups like that in all-defining Manila though – Manila is often a surreal place that thinks only of itself. And I say this as a former Manila boy who hardly knows his own countryside except for a bit of Ilocos and my native Bikol, Cebu just once.

        • Found one for Cebu, looks like a pretty comprehensive group, wondering how it’s being applied on the ground, with gov’t and the general public,

          • Cebu is also planning a BRT (bus rapid transit) system similar to that in Istanbul – no need to build expensive rail lines. Which goes to show that in the Visayas and Mindanao there is IMHO more common sense and forward-looking thinking than in self-centered Manila.

            Just look at CANA which has its roots in Mindanao, and the participative democracy Duterte has established in Davao – the other side of his approach very often ignored.

            • chempo says:

              Rapid bus system vs expensive MRT/rails

              In Singapore we had an extensive study (in fact 2 studies, including some foreign expertise) before finally settling on MRT. The numbers told us the bus system would be cheaper, but the gut feeling was MRT would be better for the future. In the end, guts won, and history proved the right decision was made.

              The were lots of side-benefits. We never looked at the one single objective of building MRT. We ensured technology transfer and as much local hardware component as possible. After the first underground line with basically foreign talent, Singaporeans were able to build succeeding line on our own.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Was Duterte expecting the Davao rapid transit to be entirely funded by the national government? Here in Oz there is shared state and federal funding, although I don’t know the proportion. There’s also partnerships with private companies. Perhaps foreign aid — particularly the one from Japan — can be used for these massive infrastructure projects.

          It’s a pity that regional cities have to wait for imperial Manila.
          *****

      • For the internet-speed-challenged places like mine, would like to post here excerpts of that thread that LCpl_X has linked, so it will be on the same page.

        The British in Hongkong, Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore and the Politburo in China has the advantage of having a clean slate to start from, a specific area where urban planning and infrastructure will be drawn first before construction of anything can be allowed.

        Here, and nowadays, imagine the sheer number of buildings to be demolished just to make way for interconnecting Metro cities, first a flood control program had to be drawn kinda like the one done by the Dutch whose country is located below sea level, underground tunnels for modern trains designed to withstand high intensity tremors, and such other infrastructures designed to transport masses of people to and from their work places.

        What we are observing now is the reverse of what China is doing. She is contemplating to herd her people (100 million of them) to highly urbanized cities (100 million per one mega city) that they are planning to build. We are trying to relocate people from the crowded cities to outlying provinces, never mind that here is where work and livelihood can be found.

        The Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike (LED)

        link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laguna_Lakeshore_Expressway_Dike

        project is a very good concept of this administration due for awarding within this year, It aims to bring more jobs and business away from Metro Manila to the South, their plan to connect the north and south expressways is excellent too. Maybe we can establish more mega cities somewhere in the north and south, and in the Visayas and Mindanao. I believe, those are in the drawing board, to be completed before the end of the next elected President’s term.

        Democracy has its own limitation, we have to work within those limitation and eventually reach our goal, corruption prevents economic growth from reaching the poorest of the poor, from having inclusive growth, not just for the 5% ultra rich people who get richer because of their connections and cunning lobbying and rent seeking manipulations.

        • chempo says:

          Hongkong and Singapore “has the advantage of having a clean slate to start from”

          You are wrong in this Mary. In many aspects. both cities are also like Manila, outgrowing their old cities. What Singapore and HK has is this — a government that governs, and people who take growing up pains and embrace change. No roadblocks from interested parties, no troublesome private agendas working under the cloak of a myriad of laws, no CAs, no TROs, no unnecessary SCs.

          What we have is something the Filipinos don’y grasp. It’s called re-development. Its a case of some sacrifices for a larger good. Large parcels of land may be taken over by the government (duly compensated) for re-development. In other words, we have continual urban planning, notwithstanding parcels of land may already be utilised for something else. When we were building the MRTs, lots of buildings had to give way. I remember a row of shophouses that was newly built, that was pulled down due to some change in plans. There is no way I can see that happening in Philippines.

          • Sadly true. I heard a story this morning from our company driver about how a Japanese contractor and designer was so frustrated that his design could not be implemented (20 years ago) due to a prominent businessman whose factory will be affected by the big infrastructure project. The tragic aftermath, aside from his resigning, is that the businessman has prevailed, part of his property was saved but the end result is that of a flyover built which stopped short of solving the choke points, an embudo type of road design (funnel shaped) where the merging traffic will converge in that choke point. The project pushed through but the 100% traffic efficiency was not attained.

            That is what I meant by our difficulty of not having a clean slate to start from – businessmen have a way of resolving matters in their favor because the government is so corrupt and the private sector so intent on their profit motive that they will bribe whoever can be bribed.

            We also had a newly finished high rise building that was demolished because the LRT project will pass through it. It was during the time of Marcos.

            The general rule is for the right of eminent domain with just compensation for those who will lose their private property should prevail so progress can be attained.

            Here, rent seeking and influence rule.

    • One may have to go by an approach similar to World War I military doctors went by – triage.

      Those healthy enough to heal could go, those so sick that they would die were left alone and those in the middle were taken care of. Prioritize resources to solve what is solvable.

      The core problem in Manila is that it is way over capacity, so get into the act of building regional centers – the five towns – and the access to them quickly while solving the most urgent problems in Manila like the dysfunctional MRT. It will cost but the long-term cost of not doing anything will be much higher – business will leave the Philippines if these problems are not solved as quickly as possible, other countries will compete in BPO.

      • Getting the rail lines to at least Angeles and Olongapo – and the stations along Manila Bay – up and running is something that is doable within a six-year presidential term, also building the core clusters around the rail lines – Malolos, Calumpit, San Fernando, Bulakan, Calumpit, Guagua, Lubao can be done, in some cities they are already there – possibly have the lines go up to Cavite to the site of the future proposed NAIA in the bay.

        The trouble with nice long-term plans is that they usually get shelved in the Philippines. Concentrating on stuff that brings medium-term results is hard enough to do and needs strong political will. Getting the MRT running properly again is another top-line priority.

  4. josephivo says:

    1- Urbanization. Just keep building huge condo-towers around Luneta and factories, call centers and malls in far away in the suburbs and in a few years wonder were all the additional traffic comes from. The essence of traffic is urbanization. Reduce the need of transport. Shorten work-sleep-shop distances. Forcefully cap population and mall growth in MM. 20 major comprehensive satellite cities.

    2- Vote for politicians that will maximize efficiency not rent (= addition income above market price due to scarcity or by other means) e.g. In the plan I only see straight roads. No more Villars, no more bending C5s or Daang Haris? No more Binays approving additional floors, allowing a hotel in the last little green area of Makati?

    • chempo says:

      Forecfully cap population? Care to expand on that? Seeing how long did it took the RH bill to be passed I’m just wondering how this can ever happen?

      China’s stop at 1 experiment — they force women to abort after first child. Infanticide index shot up as parents squeeze their first bord if it happens to be a girl.

      Singapore’s stop at 2 experiment — we used tax incentives and other incentives applicable only in our land, such as 3rd born has difficulty getting into favoured schools. The experiment succeeded beyond wildest expectations that now the government is encouraging parents to have more than 2, and also approving more citzenships to emmigrants.

      • Seeing how long did it took the RH bill to be passed I’m just wondering how this can ever happen?

        The RH bill was passed, yest, it was signed but now lingering in the SC as the RCC effectively prevented its implementation.

        What I see now is the ironic reality wherein those (the middle class, the rich and the ultra rich) who can afford big families restrict their children to just a maximum of 2 or three while those in the squatter areas are unthinkingly bent on the “go and multiply” mode.

  5. Vicara says:

    Would suggest a national cap on how many floors highrises can have and on the population (working and resident) density of LGUs. This will force developers to build horizontally, outside of Metro Manila’s more congested areas. No additional malls. within central Metro Manila. Zero. Make private developers pick from a menu of public infrastructure or green projects (e.g. parks) which they will co-fund/implement before they are allowed to complete their commercial projects. This will generate a lot of kicking and screaming among developers. Well, there are other cities in other regions to choose from. Putting a cap on building height will literally level the playing field!

    Chempo, many bus drivers are still on 24-hour shifts (ditto for taxi drivers) and placed under pressure by operators to meet schedules and passenger load targets. Drivers drug themselves with anything from high energy drinks to shabu. This is one reason traffic lanes remain purely illusory. (But I do like this comprehensive post you wrote–thank you.)

    Bike lanes are a lovely green concept, but as mentioned elsewhere in this thread will add to traffic congestion along EDSA. Not to mention lung congestion among cyclists.

    Speaking as a person with a disability (PWD): To get to work and earn a living, I have to ride a car or taxi every day. Because none of the walkways or sidewalks or buses or railway systems or jeeps/colorum vands (where you clamber over each other) is geared to accommodate PWDs–or indeed anyone over 50 with even mild arthritis. Steps are too high or in dangerous disrepair. I get around quite well in other countries on public transport, but not here. So my living in Metro Manila is actually more expensive than my living in Hongkong–simply because of commuting difficulty and the health risk due to bad air and a dangerous walking/commuting environment. The state of commuting in Metro Manila is cutting into the productive years of its residents.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      One of the things that impressed me about Oz is the built-in concern for PWDs.

      o Buildings have to have ramp access.
      o Sidewalks are designed to have slanting curbs at intersections.
      o For blind people, pedestrian traffic control boxes emit a sound beat that speeds up when the Walk sign goes green
      o Guide dogs are allowed on public transport
      o Elevator buttons have Braille markings
      o There are special taxis to accommodate people on wheelchairs.
      o Special parking for PWDs are reserved near building entrances and exits.
      o Government provides disability pensions and services
      o Companies have special programs to hire PWDs
      o There’s a national disability insurance scheme introduced in 2012
      *****

      • grammy2342 says:

        I was a PWD for sometime because I had a hip implant. And when going to Philippine Orthopedic Center for check-up, the PWD space is blocked by a vehicle parked on the space. When I asked the guard why this was allowed, she just looked at ma and said nothing. What a shame!

      • chempo says:

        We have lots to learn from western countries when it comes to welfarism and health concerns. In Singapore we have done pretty well but still have some way to go. In Philippines you have something great going — there is much reverence for the elderly folks

      • Although I can appreciate the gov’t bending over backwards for PWDs, there’s times when PWD groups’ demands become unreasonable and negatively affect public perception of them.

        Gov’t buildings have a responsibility to accommodate PWDs (hey, it’s good for everyone), but when PWDs start demanding Mom and Pop operations to accommodate them, lest they sue for discrimination or boycott, the word ‘spoiled’ and ‘entitled’ come to mind.

        This is especially true amongst blacks here, who’ve become permanently disabled to suckle on the teets of gov’t til death. So they get Handicapped placards for special disabled parking spots, and when these parking spots run out (because there’s so many on disability), they complain.

        They also complain when these run out, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorized_shopping_cart at Wal-Mart or Target. So I get the sense that one can go tooo far with these accommodations before ultimately being abused.

        Basic accommodations, like sidewalks with dips for wheeled access, “kneeling” buses, etc. but ramps on every building, and accommodating to every demands, seems abuse of one’s disability.

        I don’t know how it is in Europe, maybe Ireneo can share his take. But that author, Zachary Shore http://www.zacharyshore.com/ is completely blind, and when he was a kid out of college, he backpacked across Australia–I never understood how he did it really.

        So maybe these disabilities are there simply to be overcome, ie. if you have more motorized carts and handicapped parking placards, maybe it’s like building more roads (to fix traffic), you’re not really tackling the issue you’re just making things worst.

        What is the essence of the problem?

        • karl garcia says:

          exo skeletons, regeneration, stem cells?

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          To be sure here in Oz, there are abuses, but the abuses are largely committed by non-PWDs. Like getting car windshield stickers claiming disability, or fraudulently enjoying disability compensation when they are able to work.

          In other countries, PWD’s are often reduced to become beggars.

          The essence, I think, is kindness and social justice: the way we treat the least of our brothers is a reflection of our humanity.
          *****

          • “The essence, I think, is kindness and social justice: the way we treat the least of our brothers is a reflection of our humanity.”

            LOL! Thanks for the perspective, man.

            ‘Cuz I was gonna say, the essence is to get off your fat ass, and walk (a nod back to ped-centric idea, instead of driving and riding everwhere)–which is a very American way of looking at things, forgetting people with maimed or missing limbs in 3rd World countries have it 10 times as hard. Our handicapped here are treated like royalty.

        • The essence of the problem in Metro Manila is that office workers cannot really use public transport without getting too dirty and sweaty on the way to work. In a CLASS-BASED society like the Philippines that is a no go so I guess a lot of people just use their cars. The MMC under Imelda recognized this issue and introduced air-conditioned express buses to Makati for the professional crowd – could be an idea to replace all these vans like chempo already suggested, but you need gathering points that are safe and clean.

          Getting into the MRT means long lines, means very high stairs at times without escalators, means walking narrow and often muddy sidewalks because the interface to other means of public transport is poor, it can for office types mean getting in danger of being mugged…

          And of course the MRT is so full now that the danger of a person dressed for office work is likely to get pickpocketed, you probably will not have people with laptops in the MRT like in developed countries. But this is something I would like to ask locals for more input on.

    • chempo says:

      I once sat in a taxi where the driver was into his 14th hour of his shift. Scared the shit off me when I saw his eyes closed at every traffic light. I’m not sure wht LTRB ever allow this kind of situation. But I think it’s because the driver hires the taxi for a day 24 hours and he can’t share shift with other drivers so he has to take as much hours as he can or he can’t be profitable. Reason he can’t share is once again security — he can’t trust anyone and as hirer, he is responsible for the car.

      • That’s a very good argument for Uber right there. But then again, I took Uber for the very first time last weekend (thru a friend, I don’t have an account). And I swear I thought the Uber driver who picked us up in his 2000 Civic (Honda) was retarded. Turns out he had MS, the guy couldn’t even grab on to the wheel. It was a disaster waiting to happen, but we were late–instead of getting off on the first block of the journey upon discovery of his condition, we took it all the away. He wasn’t rated because it was his first night. My whole life flashed before me.

  6. edgar lores says:

    *******
    Chempo, thank you for this broad enumeration of solutions to the traffic problem in MM.

    I would have liked to add something, but everyone seems to have covered all other possibilities.

    I don’t know whether a staggered 4-day week and working from home would contribute anything.
    *****

    • You could enumerate all the stuff that has been proposed, and prioritize.. 🙂

      For home offices to work properly, Internet bandwidth would have to be much higher. Even then a lot of people in the Metro Manila area are already doing it now, from what I read.

    • karl garcia says:

      My wife has been working from home for quite sometime she now works for IBM, before she also worked from home while working for Accenture. She have to make do with DSL and pocket wi fi as back up.Like our internet speed discussion the other day, Now many are doing it the slower it will become.

    • grammy2342 says:

      I also doubt it, because those who are not workng wil go shopping. Same same.

    • chempo says:

      I listed out in general terms to get discussions going.

      There are really many of these small things that are within the perogative of LGUs to initiate, but sadly, seems to me civil service leadership fails us as most tend to leave it to MMDB/DOTC/LTO/LTRB to work out grand plans.

      I’m not sure of staggered 4-day week but working from home sure is a good idea. Technology is a great enabler. I have read of companies that have incorporated this into their way of operation, not under pressure from traffic congestion, but to accommodate working moms. I guess this could work for professions like journalists, designers, writers, etc. Yeah, this could be point 25.

  7. grammy2342 says:

    First and foremost: Discipline among all drivers, private and public.
    2) Strict implementation of traffic laws – no “areglo” and no “lagay.

    3) Disallow parking in side streets that sometimes, residents claim as part of their right of way.
    (Also being made basketball courts in streets of Manila. Or funeral wakes)

    4) Clear all sidewalks of vendors and tricycles that are allowed by LGUs..(Example – Estaban Abada in Xavierville that contributes to congestion in Katipunan because cars use this road to get to Kamias Road going towards Quezon City and Manila.

    5) Penalize erring bus drivers by heavy fine for operators. If offenses persist, cancel repat CANCEL the franchise.

  8. neo canjeca says:

    So sorry not to have even little time to read every line of this Chempo’s undoubtedly well done steak of a piece . Able to give Seconds for the first lines, a minute to the enumeration heads without cogitation and a few seconds to the last lines skipping altogether the comments. Here are my neutral addditions if really they are that, not repetitions. (1) Attitudinal culture: Never say if doable. Almost everything is DOABLE. (2) Soft parent material, go underbelly; hardrock cafe este rocks parent material go skyward. (2) North to South and vice versa, inter cities, minimum of three to four PARALLEL raised or on ground motorways as improved EDSAs. (3) Cities confined taxis (taxis e.g. within Makati, etc. only). (4) Two other man made Pasig (W-E; E-W) Hayakawa (swift river) from Manila Bay to Bagumbayan, Taguig City ; from Cupang, Muntinlupa passing Cavite to Manila Bay. (5) Laguna de Bay circumferential parks connected by 4 lanes highway. (6) the age old idea of Provincial Bus cities (terminals) somewhere south in Carmona, somewhere north in landfilled Candaba. (7) Abolish MMDA, create within a PNP a CosmoUnit Traffic and Parking Department of Kotong proof uniformed unisex enforcers. (9) Make DOST the lead honcho to conduct prefeasibility studies (10) from results of No. (9) select 3 to 4 fundable investments for an honest to goodness FEASIBILITY STUDY. Understand a little of the temporal aspects of a cosmopolitan human settlement. Then DO IT, small by small, slow by slow.

    If the above paragraph is believed to be an empty dream of science, guts and common sense Metro Manila and surrounding provinces should not be surprised if a Tacloban flavored with an earthquake with toppings of Manila Bay tsunami happen to them.

    • neo canjeca says:

      I must, but can’t have. What? The time to apply the first step in the scientific method: CLASSIFICATION. Though incomplete but certainly nuggets, the comments here are the nitty gritty already of an entire FEASIBILITY STUDY. Of course you will need a little more facts and a little math added to the many conjectures. The comments whatever, can be copied and pasted under the headings of introduction, market feasibility, legal feasibility, technical (engineering) feasibility, financial and economic feasibility, operational feasibility, and IMPACT– after deleting the rubbish. As I said, I must, but can’t. But for those (willing beyond blah blah blah) making their honest living out of these problems and needs of society, THEY CAN AND SHOULD DO IT.

    • chempo says:

      Thanks for the link. Obviously good ideas. Just hoping there is commitment to see it through.

      • karl garcia says:

        you are welcome, let us see if the next admin will proceed. yes, commitment is beyond six years. dotc /mmda guys must find guys to turn it over to, who would be in the agency longer. cabinet level people are mostly co-terminus with the president.

  9. bauwow says:

    Hey Chempo, your article is great! Very Comprehensive! Thanks for sharing!

    My two centavos are that traffic equalizes every social class in our country. Everybody is affected, at least in Manila and other urban areas. Some say that traffic is a sign of progress and development. But, there is no other problem that highlights the glorification of poverty, than our problem with traffic. Where can you find blatant traffic violations that are not at least checked by traffic officials? If you drive in Metro Manila, you can identify at least ten traffic violations easily, and no one reports them and traffic enforcers just let them go. In Edsa alone you can see tricycles plying from Magallanes to Cubao. In Padre Burgos, in front of the Manila City Hall, pedicabs are zigzagging on the roads, in counter flow. Jeepneys unload their passengers, specifically in No Unloading Zones. Buses wait for passengers for 30-45 minutes, hoping that they can fill up their bus. Why is it tolerated, one of the reasons, is that traffic enforcers will not earn their bribes if they check the poor traffic violators. And in turn, the poor is empowered because of being poor, they can break any traffic law. In their own words, they are just earning a living. For them, being poor is an excuse not to be a responsible driver.
    I agree that jeepneys should be phased out, but again the government is not doing anything, because it has to accommodate the poor. I might be accused of being anti-poor, but one has to understand that the concessions we make to the poor are the very tentacles that is holding back our country.

    • chempo says:

      Absolutely correct. We pander to the poor. Even election 2016 the poor seems to hold sway. This is the Philippines malaise. One word keeps cropping up. Discipline. Or the lack of it. That is the root cause of the society. Lack of discipline leads to moral decay, leads to cultural decay. When will the messiah come?

      • Vicara says:

        Even within the most disciplined culture in the world, no solutions can be implemented without Political Will.

      • From Ben Johnson, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

        Similarly, from Thoreau, “Patriotism is a maggot in their heads.”

        George Bernard Shaw has said, “You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”

        Oscar Wilde said, “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”

        Leo Tolstoy described patriotism as “the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers.”

        ——————————————–

        I feel the same about “discipline” as I do, “patriotism”. Culture can’t be imposed, people have to buy into all this. Match the natural tendency of a people, to a proposed solution. The fact that people are out and about is a very good thing, so start with that.

        Pretty excited about this HBO documentary coming out,

      • karl garcia says:

        what about the not so poor truckers who refuse to buy new trucks and keep on having falling containers. bus operators who refuse to change their fleet.
        pro poor,anti rich same banana

        as long as japan,korea,etc exports old vehicles we are ready to take them.

        some neighbor in the pacific wants our jeeps, let us give it all to them.
        somewhere in the world , without traffic, they may want our excess cars, let us export them.

  10. chempo says:

    There has been various interesting comments with some calling to “cap population forcefully”, some saying “decreased population” (decreaasing variables — car population, human population haha), some going into descriptions that are really urban planning basics.

    Let’s just slide the magnifying glass back over MM and as Joe said, just looking at the local mess in MM and leave infrastructures to others.

    There are many things that LGUs can actually do for themselves — traffic discipline, declogging drains, clear streets of vendors and other blockages, education (traffic rules, anti-littering, jaywalking etc) and many others. Hello, anyone out there?

    Service providers, corporates — business leaders can get organised to contribute. There are things they can work on — stagger work, work at home, e-services, etcc. There’s got to be some organised movement. Usually, tax-incentives can get them moving. Where is the spark?

    Then again, I dread the way the law works here. Retire old cars? You will get old tyres thrown at you. Punish someone from jaywalking? How, what law did he break?

    • “Punish someone from jaywalking? How, what law did he break?”

      The law of biggest has the right of way, brought on by the car industry,

      http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/the-invention-of-jaywalking-was-a-massive-shaming-campa-858926923

      The unwritten rule of biggest has the right of way, must be turned upside down if any solutions are to work.

      Every close knit community around the world, in Japan, Europe, S. America, centers on the pedestrian. Build the solutions around the pedestrian, then go up according to size, ie. then bicyclist (not bicyclists first from that video karl shared, they’re 2nd to peds), then small cars, then buses then commercial vehicles,

      Pedestrians should be at the top of any traffic/community building considerations.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Can confirm that pedestrians are kings of the road here in Oz. At zebra crossings, where there are no controlling traffic lights, drivers are conditioned to slow down and pedestrians just cross without hardly looking left or right.
        *****

        • Thanks, edgar,

          re “zebra” (don’t know what that’s referring to), I take it back… pedestrians aren’t on the top of this pyramid. The one thing I really appreciated about the ME was how they treated herds– and by extension those that herd, they are the Bedou(eens, plural). Herds of goats, camels, sheep, had right of way. There was reverence to the old way– that should be another point of departure when listing solutions.

          • karl garcia says:

            zebra-striped pedestrian lanes.

            I once thought ped xing was a Chinese signage.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Oh, we have lots of those animals, in fact I believe we export camels to the Middle East, but I am quite sure these flocks don’t travel around much or reside in urban areas to affect traffic.

            Zebra crossings are pedestrian-designated paths that are demarcated by black-and-white lines.
            *****

      • chempo says:

        Punish jaywalkers — I should elaborate:

        I don’t know where the “big has right of way” came from. Big should always look out for the small. Despite whatever traffic rules there may be, on the road the big still should look out for the small. That’s the unwritten code of honour. Thats what good drivers do.

        Yes Lclp, I agree we should build up from pedestrians, that’s what we do in Singapore. E.g. when turning corners, drivers have to give way to pedestrians – that’s our rule. But that don’t mean pedestrians can just walk blindly – they need to observe vechicular speed. So we install some rules that favour pedestrians for their protection, but obviously, if pedestrians flout certain rules, they need to be fined too. Whats the point of building overhead pedestrian bridges over buzy streets and to have people refusing to use them and continue to play dice nipping between cars?

        The big looks out for the small, but the small needs to play ball too, otherwise, impunity again.

        Re ME deference to animals on the road. Was in Kuwait city once long ago. When I was at a ped-X, the cars stopped for me. Following behind me was a bunch of Bangladeshi workers. When they attempted to cross, all the vehicles started honking and started moving. The workers back-stepped immediately, the cars zoomed past with some fingers out rolled-down windows. Seems camels got better treatment than Bangladeshis.

  11. chempo says:

    Sharing some light-hearted stuff on car-pooling:

    Drivers at pick-up point will ask for those going their way, please hop in. Drivers have some pecking orders — pretty ladies first, fat guys last. For pretty babaes, drivers will even go out of their way, go the extra mile — just hop in.

    Prospective passengers also have their pecking order — Mercedes Benz first, BMW next…Suzuki 700 at the bottom. If you’re driving a lousy dirty car, they don’t seem to look at your car that’s right in front of them. I was driving a 2-door sporty Honda Civic, one or two rungs higher than Suzuki 700. So understandably, it was quite tough going for me finding the passenger to hop in.

    • In the old Bay Bridge to SF there use to be a platform (there’s a new bridge so don’t know the set up now), basically for it’s for hitch hikers (commuters).

      There was a designated lane where single occupant vehicles drove thru to the platform, where these hitch hikers congregated. Single occupant cars picked up passengers, and magically became high occupancy vehicle (HOV). HOV used HOV lanes and got across the bridge quicker. Once across, the hitch hikers got off and went off on their way.

      In DC, they had the same exact thing, but the commute lasted longer and hitch hikers actually lined up, there was efficiency but very impersonal (at least Bay Bridge crossers and drivers talked). The DC HOV hitch hiking scene, was too mechanical, got on at the platform, lined up, rode in the car (w/out talking) and got off at designated place.

      Left coast/East coast difference aside, it worked. There was a line so (or a sense of first come, first serve in the Bay Bridge), no waste of time picking the prettiest lady, hitch hikers rode on the next available car. There was a sense of immediacy, no time to socialize and flirt with the ladies or guys in niece cars. It was purely symbiotic.

      In Socal, it’s different, people would never ride in others’ cars. So they converted former HOV lanes to pay lanes (you pay to use it) and found out that not only is traffic alleviated but there were a bunch of single occupancy drivers (in niece cars) perfectly willing to pay just so they can zip thru traffic. Goes back to the Greek concept of idiocy and of austerity.

      There’s also ride sharing via Zip Car (I think they were the first ones to do this, but now the big rental car giants are moving towards their market, in colleges and trendy YUPie areas of the city). Basically, there are cars parked around the city, you become a member, they send you a member means to operate the car, just reserve a time and off you go, then return the car. It becomes a community car for Zip Car members (no need to buy your own car).

      ———————————————————————-

      chempo, I really like this article (I’m also looking at traffic problems over here). Are you part of a group attempting to push these solutions to policy? Or at least just promoting it in public venues? These are high grade ideas than need to be pushed.

      If the chaos in Manila is past the point of no return and implosion ala Detroit is likely or as per Ireneo an Atlantis scenario of doom & gloom, how about taking this presentation on the road, to Cebu or Davao (and other potential “mega-cities” in the Philippines) to share the do’s and don’ts and the lessons learned from mistakes in Manila.

      Thanks, man. I hope you make a cause out of this and make it your personal crusade.

      • chempo says:

        The bridge crossing you described is informative. The queuing is good social discipline which works there. In car-pooling to get into the CBD is different because it’s not a single common straight route. People getting to different destinations in the CBD.

        I’m glad you like the article. Certainly would like to learn of your findings of your own traffic problems.

        I just put this up for discussion and sharing. I’m not in a position to lead any thing. Just hope someone learns something useful and in a better position to do some little creative improvements.

      • http://cnnphilippines.com/metro/2015/09/11/Metro-Manila-sinking-study-says.html – the Atlantis scenario is real, the CNN report is just 3 days old, this other source is older:

        http://www.science.ph/full_story.php?type=News&key=8871:metro-manila-sinking-farms-fishponds-blamed

        While the sea level may rise 1 millimeter to 3 mm. per year due to global warming, the study observes that policy makers are oblivious to or ignore the principal reason for ground subsidence in Metro Manila – the overpumping of aquifers.

        Aquifers are the underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, gravel, sand or silt from which groundwater is extracted.

        Such ignorance allows the government to treat flooding as a lesser problem that can be mitigated through large infrastructural projects that are both ineffective and vulnerable to corruption, the study said.

        “Money would be better spent on preventing the subsidence by reducing groundwater pumping and moderating population growth and land use, but these approaches are politically and psychologically unacceptable,” it said.

        And even if groundwater use is greatly reduced and enlightened land-use practices are initiated, natural subsidence in river deltas and global sea-level rise will continue to aggravate flooding, although at substantially lower rates.

        Google “metro manila subsidence” for more information including research papers – and satellite data from the European Space Agency among others including – surprise! – JICA. It is not just that ground sinks, subsidence can also lead to salt water intrusion meaning that place where you used to be able to get fresh water become salty. What is also interesting is that Senator Santiago has already filed a Senate Resolution regarding this – she may be a bit (more) crazy but she is not stupid, it is a clear and present danger…

  12. Ron Angelo says:

    Our bus system is really flawed. People say we have too many buses. But during rush hours, it’s really hard to get on one. And if you do, you’re standing up. This is especially true if you find yourself in the middle of the route like Crossing/Shaw. If the government regulated the number of buses on the road at a given time instead of having profit-driven company disparchers do it, maybe riding the bus would be more appealing. We won’t have empty buses swerving for passengers at non-peak hours. And it would be easier to get on one during rush hours. Then couple that with #6. And #18 would be really effective.

    • chempo says:

      You are right Ron. That’s the challenge with bus services — high capacity requirement during peal periods, and idle capacities during the slack hours. That’s why we should move towards a contractual model. There is a social cost to the idle capacities during slack hours and only a govt run contractual model can respond to that issue and respond more effectively and efficiently to ridership needs.

  13. Fellas, re DISCIPLINE, maybe natural inclinations should be adjusted around it, not the other way around. I live in the suburbs, whenever I go outside for a run, whether morning or night, I only meet around 10 people, plying the sidewalks. There’s order, but no sense of community–consciousness.

    In the Philippines, whole communities are outside. Like ants, people bump and talk, and there’s a group consciousness, it’s very easy to sense the pulse of the city. Over here, this group consciousness is found in the media and in tribes (whether familial, church, hobby based groups, professional, etc.)

    Over there, the streets (though there should be proper sidewalks) are the dendrites. That should be seen as strength. Sure you can instill discipline, and attempt at control, but like nerve connections probably better to leave it to its natural tendencies.

    Again, pedestrians should be at the center.

  14. Tessie says:

    Regarding sidewalks to minimize pedestrian traffic in the streets probably something similar to Calgary Alberta’s pedway system would help? The only major criticism about it so far is that it has almost extinguished street life in downtown Calgary. Also, the best part is that it is mostly funded by developers. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2B15)

    • Here in our LGU, the sidewalk as well as the other lane belongs to parked cars whose owners don’t have garage, so pedestrians are forced to play patintero with moving vehicles at the risk of their life and limbs.

      The result, heavy traffic, of course! Not to mention noise pollution due to unending horns and verbal assaults. Not fun at all.

    • chempo says:

      Ah Calgary, one of the most beautiful cities in the world to live in. I think I’ll walk everywhere in Calgary.

  15. karl garcia says:

    if you carpool and you drive a van, you will be flagged down and asked for a franchise.
    if in a sedan, same thing, they will ask if uber or grab?

    you can’t just tell the cops that you are all related or all of you are buddies.
    maybe they will listen if you tell them you are solving traffic.

  16. karl garcia says:

    community service for penalties of jaywalking and minor violations.

    clean the pasig river and all the esteros.

    • mercedes santos says:

      There’s an idea Karl, use the Pasig to ferry passengers to and fro.

      • mercedes santos says:

        By the way that’s done in Sydney; people living in Manly take the ferry daily to the CBD.

        • karl garcia says:

          Yes Mercedes. All the piso in piso para sa pasig are gone . If it no longer stinks, the ferry will really work from Pasig to Manila.
          Just make it(cleaning the river) a regular punishment for violators.

    • right, karl, clean as in regularly clean them to catch up with squatters using them as waste (human and otherwise) disposal places. LGUs are permitting / ignoring them, for the votes you know, every 3 years so they can stay in power. Panderers.!

  17. karl garcia says:

    more road networks, parallel roads.

    remember the rushed naia to casino skyway in preparation for the apec.

    meralco claimed right of way.

    progress my foot. right of way rules.

  18. i7sharp says:

    As I write this, there have been exactly 100 comments posted,
    and there has been no mention yet of
    COORDINATION.

    • karl garcia says:

      because there is none.

      • karl garcia says:

        I stand corrected(below). I7sharp, please elaborate or clarify. are you looking for a coordinating body,inter-agency cooperation or just the word coordination in the past 100 comments?

        • karl garcia says:

          Hey i7sharp, still waiting for your clarification. You made me shoot from my hips there.
          never mind. Have a nice day. This blog proved that daily blogs can still reach 200 comments. Unless, Joe publishes the next one in just a few minutes.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      In a way JoeAm has when he talks of non-piecemeal solutions.
      *****

      • http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/320157/news/metro/palace-says-no-need-for-metro-manila-gov-mmda-doing-good-job – from 2013:

        Malacañang is not keen on appointing a Metro Manila governor as the Metro Manila Development Authority is supposedly doing a good job already.

        “There’s an MMDA chairman who is able to coordinate with all the mayors and that’s why we have a lot of problems that are integral to each and every city that have been – or common to cities that are integrated by Chairman (Francis) Tolentino,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

        He was reacting to the proposal of Roberto Pagdanganan, chair of the National Center for Commuters’ Safety and Protection, who said Metro Manila is poorly coordinated and needs a governor…

        Joey Lina, who served as last Metro Manila Commission Governor in 1986, favors the restoration of the post.

        In an interview with GMA News’ Joseph Morong, Lina said MMDA is very limited and is being controlled by the mayors in the National Capital Region…

        some of the previous decisions in the Supreme Court indicated that the power of MMDA is indeed limited compared to the Metro Manila Commission during the administration of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

        In a decision in 2000, the SC ruled that the agency has no “police and legislative powers,” he said.

        “There is no syllable in R.A. No. 7924 that grants MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. Even the Metro Manila Council has not been delegated by legislative power,” the Supreme Court ruled in the MMDA vs. Bel-Air Village Association Inc., in March 2000.

        The size and population of Metro Manila necessitates, well, an institution with almost dictatorial powers like the old MMC. If it is a democratically elected governor, no problem.

        The bad Filipino habit of not having continuity, of dismantling good initiatives just because they happen to come from “the other side” always causes problems – this is an example.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Imelda, as I recall, was a governor — the first governor — of Metro Manila. With the dictator behind her, she had to power to coordinate, I guess.

          I would not propose that another First Lady/Gentleman be made governor. The appropriate power would be there, but not continuity… unless each spouse in the palace assume the same role. And the continuity will be there… until we elect another PNoy with no spouse.

          Another approach would be to create a new LGU entity for Metro Manila, with powers limited to intercity infrastructure.
          *****

          • With continuity I meant the institution of a governor and a Metro Manila Council.

            Usually first thing governments in the Philippines do is junk the institutions of the “enemy” even if they were good for the people – something Cory did with the MMC, making it MMA with less prerogatives. Or Noynoy stopping the Northrail project which GMA initiated.

            True, dictatorships have some advantages – but one can also have democracy with near-dictatorial institutions for some stuff which just needs to be handled properly.

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              Yep, that is what I had in mind too.

              A possible legal roadblock is that if the term “governor” is used that would make it a position subject to elections… and the corresponding loss of continuity.

              I think your point about MMC being a “commission” versus Cory’s modification of it to an “authority” is relevant. A Comelec commissioner serves for 7 years, one year longer than the president. But the Comelec is governed by a troika which, even though one is a chairman to break deadlocks, may not be efficient.

              The MMDA, created by Republic Act, as presently constituted is composed of a chairman (not commissioner) and the mayors of the relevant cities and municipalities as members, together with some cabinet-level secretaries who are non-voting members.

              There needs to be the correct combination of tenure, number of commissioners, and overlapping tenures to ensure continuity. Perhaps mayors should be made non-voting members or simply counted as one vote (for efficiency as well as because the constituencies are unequal, like San Juan is small compared to Quezon City).
              *****

          • Sal E. says:

            Chempo, thank you for that excellent article. This is a topic that is near and dear to me because I was involved in Manila traffic studies back in the ’70s. At that time I belonged to an organization called Citizen Traffic Action (CTA) which had daily live radio traffic reports, conducted studies of Manila traffic and driver education seminars, and worked closely with city traffic enforcers and the Highway Patrol group conducting safety check points.

            Gov. Imelda Marcos named one of our members Conrado “Dodo” Ayuyao as Metro Manila Action Officer for Traffic with a lot of fanfare and media coverage. In a series of meetings at Malacañang with traffic enforcers, engineers, and our group she explained her long term plans for decongesting Metro Manila and providing for mass transit, road re-engineering, etc. It was quite impressive and a very good solution. She then tasked Dodo and our group to provide short-term solutions which could provide immediate relief. We submitted our recommendations (engineering, education, enforcement), Imelda thanked us for it, and that was the end of that one.

            Informal chats we had with some of her technocrats after that indicated Imelda was not prepared to bite the bullet on some of our proposals like requiring all Metro Manila drivers to undergo required driver training, driver tests, strict traffic/pedestrian enforcement and jeepney ban on major roads, public buses reduced to top 2 companies plus Love Bus in non-compete routes, cargo truck ban during work hours, etc.

        • karl garcia says:

          Joey Lina’s Lina Law is the reason why it is hard to get rid of illegal settlers. good intention,poor results

    • mercedes santos says:

      I thought that’s what governments are for : COORDINATOR or is just being janitor ???

      • Joe America says:

        I think Karl’s presumption that there is no coordination is incorrect. It depends on what we mean. The Medto Manila Development Authority is a coordinating agency.

        http://www.mmda.gov.ph/

        The President’s cabinet has cluster groups dealing with this and that, where cross-disciplines are involved. I don’t know if there is one on transportation.

        The Senate is meeting today to discuss the traffic situation. They are coordinating on the law-based solutions.

        The Transportation Agency coordinates with the Driver’s Associations, and I think that is a part of the problem. They do that without coordinating with riders. So riders get stuck as the tail wagged by the dog.

        You have to define what kind of coordination you think needs to be done, and the purpose of it. It may exist, but we don’t know about it.

        • karl garcia says:

          my bad.

        • i7sharp says:

          @Joe America
          “You have to define what kind of coordination you think needs to be done, and the purpose of it. It may exist, but we don’t know about it.”
          ——-

          The phrase “fitly joined together” comes to mind.
          Let us refer to this as “fjt”; you will see in a comment I posted a year ago, almost to the day:
          http://j.mp/ja-fjt

          Many factors are involved or taken into account (see below the list as reformatted from chempo’s article). Of them, item 4 (Synchronized traffic lights) will benefit, it seems, most and most immediately from “coordination.”

          01. Road widening and more roads:
          02. Electronic Road Pricing (ERP):
          03. Road diversion:
          04. Synchronised traffic lights:
          05. Stagger time:
          06. Bus lanes:
          07. Proper bus/van/jeepney stops:
          08. Bus stop bays:
          09. Parallel secondary roads:
          10. Re-site services:
          11. Parking:
          12. Traffic discipline:
          13. Pedestrian discipline:
          14. Road clearance:
          15. Traffic signage – right turn on red:
          16. Traffic signage – stop lines at intersections:
          17. Accident management – minor accidents:
          18. Park n ride schemes:
          19. E-services:
          20. Road works:
          21. Reduce private car population:
          21a. Increase taxes on new vehicles
          21b. Impose quotas on new registration.
          21c. Make vehicle loans more expensive
          21d. Implement a policy of retiring old vehicles.
          22. Other people transportation modes:
          22a. River boats
          22b. MRT/LRT
          22c. Public buses
          22d. Express vans
          22e. Vans and jeepneys
          22f. Double-decker buses
          22g. Articulated & bi-articulated buses
          22h. Public cycling system
          22i. Walking
          23. Floods:
          24. Car pooling:

          How many, if any, of the traffic lights in the Philippines are now synchronized? How long would it take to synchronize all the “critical” ones such as those in very busy intersections?

          Perhaps I am oversimplying it but close coordination among designated people (preferably those from the barangays where the traffic lights are located) can effect synchronization almost immediately and probably with very little cost.
          The government can probably avail itself of the services or volunteerism of students from high schools nearby.

          btw, …
          Perhaps we can learn from ,strike>the birds and the bees?
          http://www.researchgate.net/publication/220706336_Bee_Inspired_Bottom-Up_Self-Organization_in_Vehicular_Traffic_Management

          • i7sharp says:

            Let me try again:
            the birds and and the bees.

          • Joe America says:

            I agree to the need to consult with stakeholders, as residents and drivers and taxi drivers and all represent. I think coordination works better if we know who is in charge. Right now it is cities and National but we have no idea who the “boss” is, where the buck stops. If I’m not mistaken, the Philippines does have synchronized lights on Roxas and maybe other places. There is a cost to them, and a science to get them working right. Long straight major thoroughfares are best for it. Like Roxas. But if the synchronized strip dumps into a jammed mess, all is lost.

          • Synchronized traffic lights were already introduced on EDSA in the late 70s/ early 80s – they all came in totally new from Japan to replace the old US 1950s or 60s style lights.

            The trouble with synchronized traffic lights is that for them to work, the driving time from point A to point B has to be more or less predictable, which is not true in the Philippines as long as buses waiting for passengers, jaywalkers and more make it unpredictable.

            To keep people from walking on the street, they placed barriers along the sidewalks at the EDSA / Aurora Boulevard crossing in the early 1980s – with the result that people started to NOT use the sidewalks anymore because they were too narrow, choking the street.

            Constructing underpasses was something they pushed on EDSA during Marcos times, also many pedestrian overpasses were built and EDSA consistently widened to 5 lanes on both sides – in some places it still had 3 lanes per side then, especially Guadalupe bridge.

            Given what josephivo has mentioned about population density in Metro Manila, I think that no amount of local self-organization will help anymore there, it is simply too crowded.

            • i7sharp says:

              @Irineo
              “Given what josephivo has mentioned about population density in Metro Manila, I think that no amount of local self-organization will help anymore there, it is simply too crowded.”
              ——-

              Let us not throw in the towel so quickly. 🙂
              Let us use KISS, Filipino style.
              “Keep it simple, Simplicio.”
              “Keep it simple ‘n’ serendipitous.”

              “Keep it simple, students.”

              This might be an opportune moment to get high school students involved (and get them start young in helping solve national or regional problems).

              Let them help figure out the solutions to problems.
              You never know what bright ideas they can come up with.
              Just let them start. ASAP.

              Example:
              A number of students (assigned periodically) coordinating with a traffic policeman through cell phones or flag semaphore or other means
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_semaphore
              can help determine when to turn the light to green or red.

              Perhaps they can be made aware of “hexagonal tessellation” and how they can use it to be “fitly joined together” – just like the “lowly” bees.

              • I get what you mean – a form of crowdsourcing.

                Why not have a website called Metro Manila Traffic Watch and have people report traffic situations – and violations – via smartphone? Enough people who are travelling have tablets etc. and could use such a site both as consumers and producers of information.

                People could even submit videos of violations they see to that site, the (local) organizers could see to it that stuff that happens often is reported to the authorities. Why not?

              • Joe America says:

                Those tools are available, if the maps and advisories coming across my twitter feed are representative of what’s out there. The problem is that there are few workable alternative routes.

    • Joe America says:

      There has been, actually, if you mean among government agencies. I said that all city road agencies had to be subordinated to a master agency to end the chopped up approach to solutions. Chempo agreed this should be done. If you mean some other coordination, you’ll have to explain what you mean. You are free to propose it if no one else has.

  19. Nas Escobar says:

    Has anybody looked at how drivers of public transport being paid? Do they have health benefits,
    retirement pensions? How are they licensed to operate these vehicles? What kind of profes-
    sional training? Licensure exams? Maybe part of the problem that needs looking into. Make
    operating public vehicles a real profession. Are they given medical clearance as professional
    drivers?

    • chempo says:

      I’m not sure of what goes on in there. One thing I know is the LTRB sure is’nt doing the right things. They don’t monitor the operators and no enforcement of whatever safety regulations they may have. It’s only when an accident happens and lives are lost then they do something real stupid. They suspend the franchise owner and the whole fleet and then check the fleet for defects. So good drivers and buses in good condition are kept off the roads depriving other commuters of a service. LTRB’s stand is like if it’s broke and you don’t fix it, I don’t care, but if you bother me with an accident, then I’ll be like a woman scorned and clamp down on you.

      • Joe America says:

        Perfect characterization. The well-being of the rider is the last item they consider, which is really bizarre. It is authoritarian with attitude rather than customer service . . .

  20. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Thank goodness they consulted Japanese than the “great” “awesome” “intelligent” University of the Philippines !!!

    Stagger time: 1. Classes should start one hour early than office time. Enough time for parents to bring them to school. 2. Office hours should let go one hour early to pick up the kids. 3) elective 9/40, 4/40 & 8/40 work hours in government offices; 4. Goernment employees and school children gets free ride in government-run public mass transport;

    INCREASE CAR TAXES !!!

    CLEAR SIDEWALK OF SIDEWALK VENDORS !!!!

    PEDESTRIAN DISCIPLINE MEANS DISCIPLINING FILIPINOS. Now, this is controversial. Because if you can discpline pedistrians, therefore, you can discpline Filipinos. If you can discpline Filipnos, therefore, there wouldn’t be Filipino crooks, right? THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE !!!!! FILIPINOS ARE UNDISCIPLINABLE !!!! Tough Luck !!!!

    ROAD WIDENING ? Really? Try road widening in Makati. TOUGH LUCK ! Binay must be laughing all the way to the bank

    TRAFFIC SIGNAGE? Really? See “Pedestrian Discipline” above

    PARK ‘n RIDE KISS ‘n RIDE. …. IN METRO MANILA ? REALLY ???? If all these cars jostle for space there should enough parking to jostle to park. Doesn’t make sense. This is Metro Manila …. THE DENSEST CITY IN THE WORLD SURPASSING MUMBAI !!!! Even China, the populous country in the world cannot even surpass MANILA AS THE DENSEST CITY.

    ROAD WORKS …. road works should be done in the wee hours not during peak hours …. DUH !!!! It should also be done on weakends !!!!

    CAR POOL LANES, EXPRESS VANS, BUS LANES …. DOES manila have the money for all of these? IF CAR POOL LANES, BUS LANES AND OTHER LANES ALONG WITH BICYCLE LANES are to be implemented in 15 years ….. There will be Gridlock for 15 years …. I tell you that … because I know ….. No need of Japan consultation ……

    ALL BUILDINGS MUST HAVE HELIPADS like in Buenos Aires. Whenever I got o Philippines which was 14 years ago, I hop on helicopters from rooftops to rooftops.

    WORK FROM HOME PROGRAM …. this is more appealing.

    COLOR SCHEME …. Mestizo class gets to drive cars …. brown class which is 98.75% of filipinos ride mass transport.

    STOP ISSUING BUILDING PERMITS …. PERIOD … NON-NEGOTIABLE !!!!

    STOP ISSUING BUSINESS PERMITS …. PERIOD … NON-NEGOTIABLE !!! If they want to set up businesses they have to do it outside of Metro Manila ….

    HA!HA!HA! I know all of the above is impossible considering the power tripping and power elites. But, hey, it is goot to dream. 15 years … 15 years of gridlock, traffic jam, controversies, corruptions and investigations … Remember this is $57,000,000,000.00 Billion project over 15 years …. that is, wetaminit, my calculator only accepts 1 billion mark. Anyways, multiply $57,000,000,000.00 by Php47/1.0US divide that by 15 years and by 12 months …. you get my drift …. That is a lot of crocodiles to feed. UP gotta crank out plenty of them.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      … sad note … when Filipinos dream …. it takes multiple lifetime to make it happen. So, sad to say THIS CANNOT HAPPEN IN 15 YEARS. But it is good to dream.

    • Joe America says:

      Once again, you are right on the money. It is not discipline that is missing, though. It is self-discipline. What does it take for a vendor to stop thinking, “well, others set up on the sidewalk, so I can, too”, and start thinking “it is wrong to use the sidewalk and force pedestrians into the street.” Self-discipline driven by a consideration of others. Like you say . . . haha, never happen.

      So it has to be imposed.

      Some things are not discipline. Getting jeepneys off the streets. Such steps involve boldness and solutions that improve seats available, with air con, and keep the prices down. Subsidized bus lines. But discipline can do a lot.

      When jeepney drivers stop running Manila transportation policy, then progress will begin.

      • LCPL_X put it very briefly above: “culture can’t be imposed, people have to buy into all this. Match the natural tendency of a people, to a proposed solution.” Like I wrote so very often, match the operating system of a country to the BIOS (culture) of the people – while modifying the BIOS slowly to fit more modern operating systems, successively. Grafting American institutions failed because they became more Filipino when “you guys” left. 🙂

        You have to impose some things, yet you have to have enough people buying in to support the system and eventually the others will learn to support it – over YEARS.

        Why I proposed Turkish-style authoritarian solutions – not dictatorial that already failed – is because I have observed that Turkish culture is similar to Filipino culture in these aspects: being paternalistic/authoritarian, clannish and class-based to the hilt. Istanbul works somehow inspite of traffic being nearly as horrible as Manila on the international scale – been there recently – because enforcement is nearly militaristic, in the old Atatürk style.

        This is why I repeat: revive the MMC, even if it was a Marcos institution, with a governor. Make a lot of things draconian – like some suggestions here to be stricter with bus firms. Revoke their licences if they block traffic too often. And be very strict with bus stops etc. – what I remember from young martial law days was how they were strict with bus stops in Cubao in front of Farmers Market – it worked. My criticism of Marcos etc. nonwithstanding!

        Self-discipline only works if people have a common sense of community – of CIVITAS. Something not yet truly existing in the Philippines. So while it is not yet there you need some people with a sense of civitas to inculcate it and enforce it until it is internalized.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the dose of clarity, enlightenment and reality. I appreciate it. I am a humanist idealist and Filipinos are just doing their thing. 🙂

        • sonny says:

          IMO, running the MMDA is in good hands if only for the fact that the admin is under formal/informal purview of AIM experts in community development. The Institute has good trust relations with JICA, design, execution and funds. Pnoy has cabinet oversight if I’m not mistaken. Both online and future initiatives and feedback are in place.

      • josephivo says:

        Nothing to do with discipline. Urban density, Manila has the highest population density in the world. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_population_density ) No space left for roads, railways, vendors, even pedestrians!!!!

        Manila had 25% increase in car ownership in one year (lost reference)

        Long live additional residential towers at Luneta park, Rizal is smiling on his safe pedestal.

        • josephivo says:

          In physics there is he Reynolds number predicting when laminar flows (steady, low friction) change into turbulent flows (erratic, high friction). In crowd control there must be something similar.

          (Discipline in Japan, Singapore…. did you notice the size and quality of the sidewalks?)

        • Joe America says:

          The sidewalk vendors are there I suspect because there were no jobs in the outlying regions, so, as so many have done, they went to Manila to find opportunity, and the only space left to find that was the sidewalk. It all rolls back up to the need for consistent annual economic growth and the roll-out of wealth and opportunity outside of Manila. Within Manila, the rules should be tightened to encourage the sidewalk vendor to go back to the province to find real, better opportunity. It is all intertwined, and job one is economic growth. Job two is imposing rules in Manila that are enforced to redefine where those “opportunities” can be found. All the opportunists are working for themselves and punishing the rest of the nation by withholding billions of value in wasteful traffic jams. So I think authorities need to arbitrate more firmly.

          • josephivo says:

            Yes it is all very intertwined.

            1- Squatters deliver easy votes, just ask a Binay or Estrada. And how many helpers and drivers will this Manila tower attract? With 2/3000 peso salaries they only can afford street vendors around the corner increasing the dilapidated feel of the area from the start.

            2- “Put people in a piggery and they will behave as pigs, put them in a palace and they will behave as princes.” ( and yes there are exceptions) Most Manila areas due to lack of basic maintenance look more as piggeries than as palaces. And where did the budgeted maintenance money go?

            3- One can make huge profits from selling condos (even on fault lines and flooding prone areas) and he can pass the bills for safety, sewage pipes, power lines, water, parking and ROADS… to the taxpayers. And who talks about heritage sites or visual pollution?

            4- the Japanese long term plan will not work as all previous plan because it lacks a “political” section, the shift of powers, the movement of voters… And the “commercial” / “rent opportunities” aspects are missing too.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, good points. But on 4, maybe the politicians and the renters will have to change to accommodate that plan, as that is the direction the straight path is taking. Because if they don’t, they will bear a huge price as transparency becomes common and quick as a twitter feed. It is strange, people complain that the Philippines does not do forward looking, and when they do prepare a plan like this, the complaint is that the present is not being properly considered. For myself, even if the plan is an ideal that takes 50 years rather than 15, it makes a lot of sense. We should complement JICA and NEDA, I think. And pass to them our concerns as constructive ideas. Not diss the plan as substandard. It is what we need a lot more of at all levels, including LGU’s.

              Stepping off soap box now . . .

              • josephivo says:

                The sky cleared here, sun is shinning again, you are right.

                Many steps in the right direction were made. With the sun shining it makes me dream again.

                And wait for the impact of K12, education, voter knowledge! Wait for RH to kick in. Wait for the impact of higher budgets, less leakages. Wait for the impact of managing with measurable objectives. Still the FOI to come (?) Peace in Muslim Mindanao (?)…. Silver linings everywhere. Look at the enthusiasm in this blog to improve traffic too!!!

              • chempo says:

                When you look properly, Josephivo, there indeed appears to be lots of source for positiveness.

              • karl garcia says:

                🙂 I love it when joseph is smiling.

    • chempo says:

      Filipinos cannot be disciplined?

      Says who? It’s because politicians do not have courage to pursue this. No disciplinarians, no discipline.

      The ONLY SINGLE DISCIPLINIARIAN in Philipiines is Kim Henares. Look at the increase in tax collection under her leadership.

      I’ll teach you how to discipline Filipinos, or any other nationalities for that matter. Just do it like Singapore – FINE, FINE,& MORE FINES. When your wallets hurt, you bite the bullet, head bowed, and toe the line. Eg:

      Parking summons — $75 payable with 7 days. 1st reminder — pay $150. 2nd reminder – pay $350. 4th reminder – pay $700. I know of someone who chalked up more than $10,000 for a single offence because he refused to pay for so many years. There is no way to run. He finally paid up (with some magnanimous discounts after much pleading, roping the assistance of the Member of Parliament in at that) or else it’s jail time.

      Income tax filing — delay filing gets us $50 fine. 2nd year delayed again, fined $100. 3rd year delayed again, fine $200. I was one such recalcitrant tax payer. When my fines hit $400 I finally made gigantic effort to put off procastinating each April and submit diligently.

      • “I’ll teach you how to discipline Filipinos, or any other nationalities for that matter. Just do it like Singapore – FINE, FINE, & MORE FINES.”

        chempo,

        I thought Singapore was beautiful–we trained in a military base there and got to travel around, my favourite was the various food courts.

        But seeing signs, like the butt with gas coming out (X’ed out), bubble gum (X’ed out), kissing (X’ed out) and my personal favourite were the ‘keep out’ signs around the military base, of a guy running and getting shot from behind (X’ed out).

        I fart all the time when riding the metro, I make a point of standing next to some beautiful woman, and farting right in front of her face, just to see her reaction. Life’s simple pleasures.

        Although stepping on fresh chewing gum is my pet peeve, I wouldn’t dream of out-lawing it. Same with kissing. These are life’s simple pleasures–if I can’t fart what am I suppose to do with it, burp it out, that’s more gross.

        This same philosophy of attempting to control every little facet of human nature is persistent in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States (all places except for Oman), in KSA they have the Vice & Virtue police (hi’a) to make sure everyone follows thru, so instead of FINEs, they hit people on their heads (or worst, depending on the offense).

        It’s BIG BROTHER and it’s patronizing– just dreary altogether.

        Americans don’t live like that, and I’m sure Filipinos won’t.

        As for FINEs for bureaucratic processes, there’s already corruption, now more FINEs? It’s just stifling. Less is more. Whatever the solution, don’t make the Philippines into some dreary place–of order, but no spirit. Of grown adults being treated like children.

        • When buddies from Texas, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana visit me, it’s the same sh!t talk, California the Nanny State. There’s an inherent value in feeling free, in standing up like a man, instead of ‘head bowed’. Whatever the solution, it should involve empowerment NOT subjugation.

          • chempo says:

            Ah the same challenge is always thrown at us Singaporeans. We are a fine country, that’s what they say.

            I appreciate the US has an entirely different perspective. Individuality and freedom.

            Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
            Freedom disrupts, absolute freedom disrupts absolutely.

            We believe in freedom with responsibility.
            With great freedom comes great responsibility.

            Let me touch on some of your points :

            Food courts — glad you liked the food. Singaporeans live to eat. The conveniences kill us.

            Bubble gums — great misconception by everyone. Chewing bubble gum is not banned. You don’t go to jail for that. The sales of bubble gum is banned, but not the consumption. And for good reasons. We are practical people and we forego the joys of jaw-grinding so that we don’t have our pants stuck with some sticky mess that came out of someone else’s mouth, a mess that farting can’t shake off. And by the way, the UK is now considering banning chewing gums — their unionised street cleaners complained to scrubbing the gums off the streets?

            The security sign — guy being shot in the back — actually we did’nt design that. It’s one of our colonial master’s hand-me-downs. We did’nt change this UK sign. It’s a sign placed at military installations and all very sensitive places. If that scares you, well and good, it means it will surely scare ISSIS and their sympathisers.

            Farting — fortunately, there’s no fine for that. Maybe Singapore authority is smart, cause there is no evidence.

            BIG BROTHER — Sorry, big brother is here to stay and it’s not our fault. Blame it on Al Qaeda, ever since 911.

            Saudi & Gulf States — hey it’s not apple to apple. Their’s is all about morality, Singapore’s is all about law and order. If you hold the girls hands, or butts, we don’t care. If you kiss or hug, we don’t care. Just don’t go the full monty, there are children arround somewhere.

            I’m glad you did’nt touch on the caning that goes on in our country haha. Corruption or no corruption, Philippines is a very lively place. I don’t think some fines to get people to toe the line is unhealthy. Seriously, do you like the men to have the freedom to pee everywhere. I have seen a taxi drivier pee into the boot of his car (probably had a bottle in there, I hope) along dela Costa Str, that my frined, is a major street in Makati.

            • “I’m glad you did’nt touch on the caning that goes on in our country haha.”

              LOL! I didn’t because the kid deserved it and also because we kill more prisoners here. So no moral high ground to stand on.

              But I’m glad, that no farting is only a sign and is not enforceable. I was picturing 4 wits pointing out the farter on a train and off he goes to get caned for farting.

              Good trivia on that military sign, at least have the shootee facing forward instead of running away, for imminent threat justification. But then again, shot while running away, has a whole ‘that’s what you get!’ vibe.

              “Their’s is all about morality, Singapore’s is all about law and order.”

              In essence it’s the same, “piety is simply a species of the genus justice”.
              http://www.nyulawreview.org/issues/volume-83-number-4/positivism-and-inseparability-law-and-morals

              At 12 to 2am whether in Old Town Pasadena or Isla Vista UCSB, and all similar towns across the USA, you’ll see people pee’ing everywhere, puking too. It smells; watching young women pee in curbs, is gross. But it’s all good release–if you get caught, you get fined or public intoxication, sleep it off in jail.

              It smells like pee here too.

              Big Brother, for security and police matters I tend to agree (but behind the scenes), the little stuff should just be.

              • “But then again, shot while running away, has a whole ‘that’s what you get!’ vibe.”

                If I remember right, the US law is that you may shoot someone who trespasses in some states, especially thieves, but you may not shoot them when they are already running away. And that shooting someone running away in the back was a no-no in the Wild West.

                So you have different legal traditions at work here. The beautiful German word for that is “Rechtsempfinden” – which also means “feeling for what is right”, not only “sense of law”.

                Now how do you deal with cultures where the “Rechtsempfinden” and law on paper differ? Singapore used to be a pirate lair if I remember correctly, a place full of criminal elements. Order had to be enforced because most people did not have a common “sense of law”.

                An old Filipino action/bandit film – I think it was starring Fernando Poe or Erap – was called “sa iyo ang batas, sa akin ang katarungan”, meaning “thine is the law, but justice is mine”. Sense of law or justice and written law diverge in the Philippines, causing many problems. Lots of discussions in Raissa’s blog are very interesting – the country is in a process of reconciling its jumbled legal tradition with the native sense of what is right and many of the people over there are at the forefront of this process of jurisprudence – interpreting law.

              • Thanks, man.

                I never really thought of this as a culturally specific value. It made me think of two stories–self-defense and patriotism (your comment to Joe re citizenship as an all too American concept).

                You’re correct, both ‘stand your ground’ and castle doctrines require imminent threat, so an assailant running away poses no imminent threat. But with that there is a very cowboy or mafia (West & East coast) component of honor, in killing someone bravely. This I really never thought about, it’s just ingrained.

                So there was a case in Chicago awhile back. Facts: Party in South Side Chicago. Predominantly black area. Suspect and victim are black. College student (good kid) goes to a party, and another kid (a middle manager, drug dealer/gang leader) also attends. The two get involved in a heated argument (about a girl). Gang leader states, “Enjoy this party, because when you get out of here you’re dead”. College student goes to his buddy’s car, gets gun from glove compartment and returns to the party, shooting Gang leader and his assistant dead, execution style, point blank.

                Argument was that the Gang leader was a known violent criminal & shot caller (delegates), witnesses confirmed the threat. College student was as good as dead, as promised. Jury bought that as imminent threat. Then there were legal technicalities–swept under the rug, precedence averted.

                The jury, of Chicago, understood the threat. But had the college kid shot the gangster from afar with gang leader’s back turned, that would’ve convinced them otherwise. So the point blank, facing the enemy, carried a certain value-laden cultural weight.

                On patriotism and that “piety”/”justice” quote which is Socrates’, there is a sense of piety to these laws and concepts, not so different from Saudi’s morality & Singapore’s order. We’re constantly talking about the altar of Freedom and all that crap here.

                So 2nd story. A big cemetery around here. 4th of July fell on a Sat. this year, so Fri. was a holiday. The cemetery grounds keepers (usually Mexican illegals) clean up every Fri. to set-up for the weekend, their routine.

                These guys don’t know holidays or 4th July, they just work. Because that Fri. was a holiday, people visited, Boy Scouts visited, and did their patriotic thing, sticking tiny plastic flags Made in China, next to head stones. Fri. night and the grounds keepers did their clean-up, tossed everything in the trash–oblivious of the purpose for those flags for the next day.

                Next day came, no Made in China (bought at Wal-Mart) flags on the grounds. The flags were found in the dumpster. So these flag retards see the tiny flags in the dump, I’m sure in their minds they might as well be seeing dead puppies–that’s how patriotic they are (most having never served the military). So news outlets were contacted, Unpatriotic!!! Send them back to Mexico!!!

                Immigration, the FBI and local police were actually called to investigate. All for these tiny, non-biodegradable plastic, Made in China, bought from Wal-Mart flags.

                The irony of patriotism and the sense of piety gone awry.

              • Joe America says:

                Two excellent lessons. I can imagine you doing a book of fables, only they aren’t fiction.

                The flag and national anthems are a tad intricate for me, personally. The Philippine Legislature reprimanded Martin Nivera for singing the Philippine National Anthem in a soulful rendition at a Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas oh, three or four years ago. It MUST be sung as a military march. So we have these symbols as representations of feelings within, and not everyone feels the same about it. I personally am attached to flags because I have the ones that draped my uncle’s and father’s coffins, and they say what can’t really be said in words or photos.

              • Joe,

                The only place American flags (as well as state and military flags) should be manufactured is in American prisons. California state flags, I think are made in Folsom. Then have those prisoners who made ’em personally write letter of authentications and know where each of flags they made goes, ie. on a coffin, abroad, local, etc.

              • chempo says:

                Just a rejoinder on the “shot from behind” in case people get the wrong idea.

                It’s just a sign, don’t get riled up. He was shot from behind, but you did’nt see what he was doing in front — endangering someone?, going to set-off the the bomb?. MInd you, this sign is only in relation with sensitive areas — military camps where there are armoury and incendiaries, secret bases, naval bases etc.In these places the intruders are not your everyday criminals, pleasantries don’t apply.

                It’s a sign from antiquity, when people never heard of human rights, where criminals don’t get more protection than the victims like today. When the world was a safer place at that.

  21. karl garcia says:

    Some People working in Manilla has moved to Bulacan, Rizal,Cavite,Laguna. Nice move,but still they have to go to metro manlla and experience the traffic. they get to go home veeery late and go to work veeeery early.

    • karl garcia says:

      If megacities and urbanization outside metro manila is not the answer, then what is?

        • karl garcia says:

          my concern was lance corporal’s remark that mega cities are ecological nightmares same as your tall building/water scenario in the metro.I guess if done right, it will be fine.

          • karl garcia says:

            maybe more horizontal urbanization or mid rise buildings only. That leaves less for agriculture. Leave Nueva Ecija alone for rice. Those urbanized areas can go vertical farming.
            For water, gather rain water more. recycle yucky waste water. desalinize salt water.
            Of course let us not forget to replant trees.

            easier said,but neo said never say undoable.

            • karl,

              With over-population, urbanization is inevitable. But the assumption should be that urbanization is NOT progress, rather a symptom of a bigger problem.

              When developers show fancy videos and models of progress, everyone should be suspicious. Convert that suspicion with social movement demanding access and participation to the urbanization process (this shouldn’t just be gov’t and business), ie.

              If developers want to build a compound, the public should demand that they also build a public park.

              If developers want to build a sky rise, they should build public schools.

              If developers want to build a mall, then side walks all around within a 10 mile radius.

              Quid pro Quo, always with the focus towards public good, not just developer profits and gov’t kick backs.

              Demand that they clean rivers and mountains. Also, push for the idea that some places shouldn’t be developed, should be left as is– are the National Parks over there, run the same way as over here? Same with National Forests.

              But most importantly,

              Define progress.

              • Over here, in downtown Oakland (Jack London’s stomping grounds), San Diego, Detroit, Seattle, etc. the counter movement is urban homesteading. People are buying less from big grocery stores. Neighborhood butchers are back– offering their customers to visit the animals in open free range grass/weed fed farms. Farmers markets, with farmers doing the same, opening their farms to their customers. They’re trying to cut off industrial agriculture altogether.

                They’re growing their own fruits & veggies and raising rabbits & chicken. Everyone’s forfeiting beef and pigs. Fish ponds are taking place of pools. Off the grid living.

                People are opting to travel and work only as far as they can walk, and to bus or cycle if distance is an issue. They’re cutting off the fossil fuel industry. And small communities are sprouting, small eco-systems are standing up. Especially in Detroit, and they had a front seat to American progress. When the show ended, they had to come up with something else. Whether it’s better or worst, it’s definitely another version of “progress”.

                You see we went down the rabbit hole of American progress, we swallowed it whole, hook, line & sinker. We weren’t any better for it.

                The Philippines is still at the cusp, so I hope it learns from us, not the bs the corporations are trying to sell you guys, but what people are doing now over here, in the coming age of whatever you want to call it–but, it will suck.

              • Joe America says:

                It sounds like Governor Moonbeam became Mayor Moonbeam and the city took it up seriously. I always enjoyed Jerry Brown. Style. Idealistic. Cerebral. Off beat. “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother . . .”

              • karl garcia says:

                Below are the leading developers.

                The Ayala’s are doing fine with the mini parks, so far they back up their sustainable development talk. I don’t like how the Sy’s destroyed the pine trees in Baguio, so they better prove their sustainable development talk, and walk their talk. DMCI had a lot of issues from torre de manila to mining.Gokongwei’s track record for sustainable development,are only shown in the academic world , but in practice, I don’t know.

              • Joe, I think the hippies just got kicked out from San Fran and set-up shop across the bay in Oakland. I don’t think Brown had anything to do with this, since it’s spreading all over– Austin, TX too. People just opting out.

                I’m seeing more humanure toilets, and they are getting fancier,

              • (Because the tech companies gentrified San Fran, moving from Silicon Valley to SF)

      • mercedes santos says:

        That was LA in 1990, people wake up at 5 am to commute downtown.

      • chempo says:

        Yes Karl you and Irineo’s ideas of mega cities has appeal. In some ways, the JICA roadmap incorporates this idea. But high speed rails linking to these other cities is not a standalone solution. There are various considerations :

        – Transmigration – It means moving people out of Manila to reside in those cities. Cost of the daily train trips will be a big issue for them to get to Manila to work.
        – Those outlying cities will see a population explosion – can they manage, or will Manila’s problems be replicated in those feeder cities.
        – If large numbers of people move out of Manila into the feeder cities, demand for services in those cities will rise. Can they cope. And if the population is there, why not have industries and services there, why continue to serve Manila.

        It’s a very complicated affair one which I think the JICA roadmap already addressed. Their feeder cities are different, that’s all.

        • karl garcia says:

          If the proponent is not eccentric and lunatic like some reports make him appear. If the environmentalist groups are no longer hounding him, and if he gets enough investors and government cooperation.

          The eastern seaboard Pacific Coast City IS the alternative to merro manila.

          http://pacificcoastcities.com/

  22. karl garcia says:

    Move the ports to Cavite (air and sea) ,then we will discuss Cavite traffic.

  23. Consider the two over whelmed light railway systems, and the very sad little little railway line running north south, and put that against any other major city. Rail could certainly be considered.
    I lived in London for 30 years. It could not function with out a comprehensive sunburn railway system, underground (not possible here), some light rail ways and trams, a fully integrated bus system, the black taxis probably the best in the world, and one coach station only Victoria. Dedicated bus lanes.
    Cycle path provision is poor compared to other European cities. And the daily traffic charge for entry to London by car for domestic users.. One large clogged motor way around the whole city the M25
    Rail systems in Manila? More roads for more cars, not the answer
    And do something about organizing a proper port.

    • josephivo says:

      All that is not enough, the population density is more than double in Manila, so the solutions have to be twice as good to achieve similar results.

  24. chempo

    I would like to congratulate you for a very comprehensive study of our current situation on Metro Manila traffic congestion. That is a well thought of piece, the comments are great and on topic, this should be used as a guide for the MMDA as well as for the Senate hearing.

    We have heard of stories some 25 years ago of students and workers who had to sleep on stranded buses, some braved the rains, floods, muggers and snatchers to walk home.

    Irineo is right, during the early years of Marital Law, Marcos has done wonders to improve the lives of the commuting public, that is not to be denied. The political aspect will not be mentioned by yours truly here, that was a given, suffice it to say that the one who came after him had other priorities in mind like restoration of democracy and the management of foreign debts and coping with coups and the economic derailment arising from them (just had to mention that…)

    Summarizing everything : Wikipedia says Manila has the highest population density in the world as posted by joseph – that and the fact the roads stayed the same as 30 or so years ago, lack of discipline, lack of political will to wade thru budgetary bumps and ravines, lack of proper maintenance of existing mass transits have been thoroughly discussed by the writer and the commenters.

    As a late participant in this article like I seem to have nothing more to add except to offer a few personal observations. We cannot have much control on torrential rains that cause people to spend birthdays in vehicles instead of with loved ones of for ambulances to be stuck on the roads while ferrying near dead patients to the hospital, but pandering to vested groups like INC and other religious groups, I think can be subject of legislative intervention. Medical and charitable missions of the INC as well as their rallies should be held in places that will not choke an already challenged transportation system.

    Those who conduct Senate hearings in aid of legislation should come up with new laws that will regulate protests, missions and processions. Awarding of public contracts for PPP should include proper maintenance of the infrastructures awarded to them be it LR, MRT, KCR or expressways. The LGUs should be fined heavily if they allow secondary roads in their locality to be used for parking garage…., in our place, road widening was done but half of that were occupied by people who were allowed to purchase cars without garages in their homes.

    In our LGU, regular fiestas and processions, parades of students during UN day, or National Language day, or other special days, why can’t all this be done in plazas, basketball courts and parks? Why is the government contributing to the traffic instead of alleviating them? It is said (I don’t recall now) Mistakes can be attributed to 2 parties – one who committed them, and the other who permitted the same.

    I was unaffected by the INC rally caused EDSA traffic but was not able to escape a religious (RCC) ceremony held in the middle of the street leading to our subdivision, that single ceremony affected some other 5 streets – the car kept on backing out of congestion, closed roads… grrr!

    • chempo says:

      Thanks Mary

      Marcos did well in some infrastructure initiatives. There are 2 reasons — One, the more projects he did, the more percentages he got. Corruption exist now, it existed then. Obviously, the motivation was there. Two, his authoritative powers ensure projects moved — there was no legislative/judiciary interference. Which puny little judge ever dared come up with anything funny against his projects. In a way, that’s how Singapore made so much progress under Lee Kuan Yew.

      PNR/LRT/MRT/Busses — regarding these modes of transportation, I thing we need really study the best business model. The contractual model seems to be the best. Under this, the govt owns the infracture, all the hardware and the software but the operation is tendered out to private industry on a contracted fee basis. All revenues from fares and advertising rights, commercial space rentals, go to the government. The operators run the service\ and take care of running maintenance. The government funds the infrastructure and has responsibility for infrastructure upgrades, hardware replacements, future developments and direction, respond to changing ridership demands. A regulatory board monitors operator performance. This model ensures commuters interest are served, responsibilities are defined, socialised cost can be absorbed and averaged out. The complicated model for the current LRT/MRT services is one major reason why debacles of the past relating to maintenance and upgrading could not be resolved (leave corruption and politics out). I’m afraid the PPP model for the future MRT lines appear to be complicated also. Watch out for futture debacles. As it is, the govt needs to cought out some 6.2 billion pesos compensation even before the PPP project starts. Real stupidity there. And no one’s getting penalised for loosing tax payers’ money.

      The Senate hearing to me is a complete waste of time and resources. It’s meaningless and impedes the Executive. There is nothing to do with laws. It just management.

      .

      • If at least the Senate hearing were management and not just the usual grandstanding, making themselves look and feel important at the expense of others.

        Now I have a suggestion for an immediate measure – the next time there is a major tie-up at EDSA, have people go out on foot with questionnaires asking the following, tell the motorists they are asking this to help find solutions – so they don’t get beaten up: 🙂

        1) where are you coming from, and is it work, shopping or other purpose?

        2) where are you going to, is it home or is it somewhere else?

        3) what route do you usually take, how long is the way?

        4) what hindrances do you usually have on the way?

        5) where does it clog and where does it relieve?

        Then classify the major “wheres” into areas, then you can find out what A to B is the most common and focus on improving things for the largest group first, then the second largest, then the next until you have improvements that are visible. The ones doing the asking and evaluation could even be students, the whole thing run for example as a MMDA-university collaboration focused on quick evaluation with deadlines, Results of course would have to be in cooperation with LGUs, but then again, where there is a will there is a way, always.

        • chempo says:

          Data collection forms a very crucial part in traffic management. I believe MMDA currently is doing some localised data collection somewhere.

          That is one of the reasons why I say the current public transport system (the franchise model) has damning weaknesses. The LTFRB dishes franchises, supposed to do some monitoring/inspection overview which they don’t do, the operators just pursue the profit objectives. Who is look after commuters. Who is building infractures (bus stops, sheltered terminals, fleet management, looking into ridership needs etc) If operators are restricted to a few large corp professionally run, or if the system is on a contractual model, then there can be a well-managed, modern professional industry which can self-police and implement continuous data collection to improve their services. Prime benefit from data collection is route planning that improves efficiency— that’s partly what your EDSA survey is trying to get at.

          • Sal E. says:

            One statistic that I heard recently from an MMDA spokesperson is that Metro Manila roads are already maxed out and yet 70% of vehicles carry only 30% of passengers. That in a nutshell explains a lot.

            We need to identify key thoroughfares and make them “zero-tolerance zones”. Fines should be doubled, CCTV cameras should be installed along these roadways and traffic enforcers should ticket erring motorists based on video evidence. I got a ticket for a moving violation in Seattle this way and there was no way I could contest it in court because the video evidence was irrefutable.

            Motorists should be encouraged to use smartphone apps like WAZE to encourage use of alternate routes to help decongest crowded streets. MMDA could also work with Waze developers to help collect traffic data this way.

  25. NHerrera says:

    The transport problem in Metro Manila is one of those things which needs a total “war” or system approach, involving as it does not only technology and huge funding, but people’s habit — almost like designing an entire government political system. The Blog gives a rather nice birds eye view of the complexity of the problem. The offered recommendations in the short-term are certainly reasonable but will need the crucial discipline and cooperation of practically everyone living in the area. Thanks for the blog.

    In the present situation, focusing only on the EDSA traffic congestion, even a whole army of traffic enforcers with a zest to relieve the traffic problem is only a palliative or a political move to show the public that the Administration wants to help. The fact of the matter is that on EDSA, there are just too many cars.

    I wish to just put the simple arithmetic here. Those not having the patience of reading this arithmetic can stop reading this post.

    THE SIMPLE ARITHMETIC:

    1. Studies from both analysis and practical experience have shown that on a single lane, if there are more than about 200 vehicles per mile (1.6km) over a stretch of road extending for several kilometers, the flow of traffic virtually stops. From about 100 vehicles per mile to 200 vehicles per mile the vehicles essentially crawls.

    2. This is not surprising because at 200 vehicles per mile or 1.6 km, the average distance between the midpoints of the vehicles is 8 meters. When one considers the car length at between 3.5m and 5m (SUV) and the bus length at between 11m to 14m, the average vehicle length is about 6m.

    3. An interesting question is why at a midpoint distance between vehicle of 8m and an average vehicle length of 6m is why the traffic virtually stops. The reason for this is that being controlled by humans, vehicles are travelling at different speeds and thus, even WITHOUT considering a vehicle stalling or in collisions, the variation in speed or perturbation — acceleration, deceleration — causes the vehicles at the back to travel at even lower speed and like a wave travels back until there is a virtual stop.

    4. My point in this without the “gibberish” of the numbers above, is that at a certain vehicle density — which happens at EDSA — no amount of traffic enforcers or quality and great efforts can relieve the traffic “virtual standstill.” Alternate routes may be subject to the same situation.

    5. THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY VEHICLES. So we are back to the complexity of beginning to solve the problem as @chempo describes it.

    • Joe America says:

      Right. Commit to solving it, and assign an accountable person (General) to lead, and cut the red tape of multiple cities interfering. A true traffic Czar.

      • NHerrera says:

        Joe, that is right. It is such a huge problem — ironically exacerbated by economic growth and money by the OFWs being able to buy cars — that it was easy, until lately when a CRITICAL POINT was reached under the new Administration, to offer palliatives. If serious efforts at a study and influential Cabinet man pushed through with the real solution, the Administration may have started the beginning of the solution.

        But that not only require huge funding at the beginning but sustained future funding, and will result in even more collateral short-term traffic mess or complaints against restrictions, that I am sure some politicians will make a hue and cry.

        That is the comical thing right now. A Binay or Poe Presidency with their political pandering needs a superman to do anything which will not hurt the commuting public.

        Even a Roxas needs a superman. Frankly, were I a younger man, I will dread to be that Czar — although in keeping with our spirit here at the Society and having learned quite a bit from this Blog and at Raissa’s, I may just take up the problem and put my hands, feet and brain to the job where my mouth aka my computer keyboard is.

        Another thought — I may be fired very quickly at Binay’s or Poe’s Presidency. In the case of Roxas, I may not be fired that quickly or not at all; but I may have to resign to spare a Roxas Presidency’s political capital to be lost altogether. Give another do-gooder to make a try, and be fired too for not solving the problem — hahaha.

        • Joe America says:

          I rather think you would be fired by no one and traffic would improve markedly after about six months.

          I recall visiting Santiago, Chile, oh, some years back now. It’s layout was a little cleaner than Manila’s and the city was absolutely crawling with yellow city buses. One franchise – the government’s, I suspect – and they were everywhere, 8 or 9 each block at the same time, numbered for different routes. So simple. Off with the jeepneys and motorcycle cabs, out with the low-rate taxis, in with the subsidized buses, and price cars high for parking and tolls. Install park and bus terminals outside the central city. Invest in trains for long hauls between city hubs, Clark, Cavite, and outward.

          That’s my vision.

          I think I’d not get hired in the first place.

  26. Joe America says:

    From my Facebook comment thread:

    (Jojo M Gonzales) the stretch from ortigas-edsa to shaw-edsa has galeria mall, megamall, starmall, edsa central, shangrila mall, podium, st. francis square, schools like la salle greenhills, poveda, lourdes, and shangrila hotel. the stretch from aurora-edsa to east ave-edsa has no less than 8 provincial bus terminals, with many buses parked in side streets. as my partner jenny said “this is not a traffic problem, it is a city planning problem.” she trained in architecture and urban planning.

    • karl garcia says:

      With SM’s lineup of future projects in the area. By the time A national Land Use Law gets implemented.It will not make a dent in Metro Manila. It will need reconstructive surgery.
      But outside Metro, all is not lost.

  27. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Paralysis

    A thought came to me: if the U.S. or say, Australia were peopled by Filipinos as we know them today, would U.S. or Australia look the same way as we know them today?

    My answer: probably not.

    Here’s a sidebar, a story of my commute yesterday:

    My hands are shaking as I write this, literally cursing the owners of the vans who sit four abreast in a row meant for three abreast.

    A bit of a backgrounder: I thought I would leave my car at home and try public transportation. Haven’t done this for a long, long time.

    The bus ride to the MRT was passable enough, it being non-peak hours. The train ride to and from Trinoma was actually pleasant, for the same reason. But the devil wasn’t finished with me yet. Here’s a test for your good nature and patience, he said, a ride inside a UV Express, a white van filled with people.

    I had forgotten how it was. I had railed against it in the days I would commute. But I had forgotten and without thinking jumped into the seat left for me, the last leg of my homeward travel. It took about two hours, 7:30-9:30pm from Makati’s Park Square to our home. I said I jumped into my seat, I did, but that was the last act I ever did for the next two hours. I couldn’t move a muscle, ligament or joint after jumping into my seat. The only part of my body which was still fluid was my face muscles, and a little of the neck.

    It was the closest thing to purgatory, I tell you. Sometimes I could move my leg a smithereen forward and backward on my seat, but that was it, millimeters matter. It made my blood circulate a bit, preventing, is it gangrene or Parkinson’s? You order your body to move this way and that, but muscle disobeys brain.

    I busied myself trying to coin a phrase I could utter within hearing distance of the driver as I alighted, so that in the off chance he developed a conscience, my phrase would help. The phrase went something like this, in Filipino, English later:

    Mabuti pa ang mga manok, isang beses lang nila gagawin ito.

    (Chickens have a better deal, because they only have to do this once.)

    I averred to the last journey of the chickens to the slaughter house, cramped inside their cages, their faces pressed to another chicken’s legs or butt or whatever. Did the driver get my witticism?

    Arriving home, after hearing my narrative, Agee said, “Welcome to my world, Dad.”

    I pity the small people, they have to do this day after day. The van owners are possibly well-heeled, members of Knights of Columbus or something like that, hearing homilies in church and nodding their heads solemnly in agreement with the priest’s point of view. But where oh where is the conscience? Don’t they know that their assistants on the ground press four adults into a row meant for three? Do they know that these same adults will not complain because they are Filipinos and they have no need for confrontation especially at a time they are tired and just want to be with their loved ones at day’s end, hurrying to dinner and play footsies with the wifey?

    Do the owners of the van realize that they are not dealing with chickens or heavens, wooden sculptures from the Mountain Province set together, never mind how closely they lie to each other? If they sit three instead of four in a row, will return on investment be hampered that much?

    “That’s why people just have to drive their cars, Dad,” my daughter again.

    That’s why we have carmageddon every time it rains or even when it’s not raining and everything is normal, because there simply are too many cars and not too much road space and not too many conscientious van owners who would treat people like unfeeling objects worthy of their scorn. And not a lot of people complaining, mostly they’re just compliant even when they’re paralyzed from the neck down. That’s why.

    And that’s why any country we’re in as a majority, given the same mindset, will still look like the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      🙂 (I see you got it in.) I used to ride the bus and jeepneys when I lived up the coast of Zambales, and had not yet invested in a car. We’d drop down to Olongapo, and once in a while pick up Victory Liner into Manila. I am 6’4″, so it’s a squeeze to fit in when a jeepney is loaded, all the groceries and other paraphernalia taking up the aisle space. I take up two seats even though they charge for one. Seven pesos or somesuch, anywhere in Olongapo. I could never get the courage to ride a jeepney in Manila because I didn’t know where they are going, exactly, and if I got lost, I’d never get back.

      I suppose it is a phobia related to my claustrophobia.

      The Philippines is special. Memories already.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        “I see you got it in.” Yup. The solution to the traffic problem will be within reach if each Filipino who is straight-jacketed in a seat of a van or bus, or stalled in traffic for hours will say “I won’t take it anymore.” Collective rage leads to an eruption not only of tempers but hopefully creativity in full panoply. Hope is free.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Thank you for this detail of what people do to people. To think that people less fortunate suffer this horror day in and day out.
      *****

    • chempo says:

      “Chickens have a better deal, because they only have to do this once.” …that’s so funny.

      I have gone through the whole works of the transport industry. In the province I rode in pedicabs or is that a try-cycle (3-wheeled motobikes), at certain gradients I had to jump out and run with the vehicle, at certain corners, someone had to do a do a balancing act much like the way they do in yatch racing or the machine rolls over.Who is to do that depends on where you are sitting and whether it’s a left or right bend. It’s hilarious.

      Regarding Filipinos overseas, it’s my observation that Filipinos tend to leave their crab mentalities at home. They generally do well overseas. How come?

    • At least you were sitting, imagine the horror my officemate have to endure commuting ftom The Fort (Bonifacio Global City) to Cavite. She walked up to Kalayaan, then took a bus at Guadalupe, Makati and had to stand from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am. She had just given birth 3 months ago to her cute baby girl….soaking wet from the torrential rain, tired, hungry and sleepy, her feet could not feel anything when she finally arrived in Cavite…that was the worst experience, the normal day to day ones are when she arrives home a little after 12:00 am. Cavite’s traffic are soooo horrendous.

  28. Just found a blog dedicated to Metro Manila traffic: http://d0ctrine.com/

    • The DOST monorail is already being tried out in Bicutan after first trial runs in UP Diliman: http://d0ctrine.com/2015/03/02/some-updates-on-dosts-agt/

    • Sal E. says:

      Ireneo, thanks for sharing that blog. Here is another interesting idea that’s floating around and which I think makes a lot of sense to me — convert MRT/LRT infrastructure for exclusive bus use and let the buses operate on scheduled runs.
      http://jamesdeakin.ph/could-the-solution-to-edsa-traffic-be-removing-the-mrt/

      • Welcome – this is another interesting idea that involves using among others the AGT:

        http://philippinerailways.blogspot.com/2015/09/railway-network-for-mega-manila.html

      • karl garcia says:

        If after our lifetime the MRT and flyovers be removed from edsa and replaced by a BRT at the middle, aint that moving backwards?
        I prefer a train system,get rid of 10 year old vehicles,motorbikes,cars,vans,trucks,all of them.
        Have a train network.

        • karl garcia says:

          ok go ahead with brt, but have subway systems.

          • Sal E. says:

            Karl, why would switching from trains to buses be moving backwards? It seems to me buses are easier to manage, less expensive to maintain and upgrade, and more flexible to adjust based on flow of human traffic.

            As for subways (underground) I would think that would be more complicated given Manila is below sea level and sinking. What advantage would that provide over elevated roadways long term?

            • “buses are easier to manage, less expensive to maintain and upgrade, and more flexible to adjust based on flow of human traffic.” Very true – and they can leave the BRT framework and continue as normal busses in the outskirts like they do in Istanbul.

              But removing MRT to make it a BRT would cause a lot of problems, better fix it. Subway in Manila only makes sense in the hills, like Katipunan station for LRT2 is underground.

              More HRT – heavy rail transit is the way to go for long-haul regional transport, double decker trains like in Japan to transport masses of commuters to and from outskirts. AGT for short hauls, this Filipino invention fills the gap between LRT and jeepney perfectly.

              • Sal E. says:

                Irineo, when you say, “…removing MRT to make it a BRT would cause a lot of problems” — what problems will it cause? Thanks, I don’t mean to belabor this point but I’m trying to understand the issue.

              • Joe America says:

                The only thing I can figure is that buses do not open widely from the side upon arriving at the station, so the boarding time would be slower, and we could imagine buses jammed up waiting at each station. A train can offload several hundred passengers at once.

              • Sal: Problems would be that during the time the MRT would be dismantled, you will not have any system that carries an equivalent number of people as efficiently:

                Joe: The BRT busses used in Istanbul have doors that open widely from the side and a lot of them like train wagons, and you don’t have to go up stairs when boarding just like in many modern busses. Of course if you have high-capacity trains built, it might make sense to look at what is called “Spanish boarding”. We have that in three heavily frequented Munich S-Bahn (regional train) stations – people disembark on the right and embark on the left so that people leaving and boarding trains do not collide, that means you have to make platforms for boarding and leaving which they did not for the MRT.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, good to know. Yes, I’d agree it deserves a careful study. The platforms are there, one each direction.

              • In the three Munich stations I wrote about, you have a platform in the middle for boarding and two side platforms in each direction for passengers leaving the train. The system is called “Spanish boarding” because it was first use in a Spanish city, Barcelona or Madrid..

                It solves the problem you have in nearly every mass transit system: that passengers leaving and boarding tend to collide, especially when those boarding cannot wait to enter.

              • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_solution – to show how it looks in practice.

                Strange some people in Madrid are waiting on the exit side though… 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                maybe they are waiting for someone.

            • karl garcia says:

              SalE,
              For flood prone areas like in espana ,camanava it may not be wise to build a subway system. For BRT, I would prefer it to double deckers and three of them combined like a train.
              In forums on dailies I remember a guy defending subways even in flood prone areas,maybe he is sort of an expert or something,but SalE is it really not worth it?
              If you say that I am way off the mark. okidoki.

              • If you build a subway in a flood prone area, you have to go very deep – under the groundwater which means extra cost because you have to seal it off properly – and have security gates that can be closed against inflowing water. There is a subway station in Munich (Lehel) which goes very deep because it is close to the river, meaning potential for flooding is there in springtime or when there are heavy rains. I once remember walking down stairs equivalent to 9 stories in a normal building because both the elevator and the escalator broke down, imagine that situation in a congested urban area like Metro Manila. Ok in places like Moscow and Kiev you also have very deep subways with very steep and fast escalators, but that is because the Soviets were paranoid about nuclear attacks and built the subway stations to be nuclear shelters as well. But that does not mean they did not do the same in Western Europe – many subway stations also have war bunkers.

                Regarding subway flood safety – a lot of people drowned in the Berlin subway system – one of the oldest in Europe – at the end of World War 2 because bombs caused water from the Spree river (Berlin is built on marshland) to flow into the tunnels and stations.

                Elevated trains have the disadvantage that they can make the streets very dark – something you can see on Avenida Rizal or on some streets in Queens, New York. Elevated monorails with small footprints like the DOST AGT have an advantage in this.

              • karl garcia says:

                Easier to maintain buses,but our importing second hand buses which are not all slightly used should be changed,if it is the government who will procure them, maybe it won’t be those pre-owned buses unlike the choppers fiasco.

              • Or import only the parts that cannot yet be manufactured locally and support a local industry that makes the rest – the body and the seating, the doors etc., which is an advantage as well because local maintenance only has be paid in pesos not dollars.

                I have referred to the DOST AGT because it is fully locally made, some lessons learned from there could be ported to busses or trains. Upgrade from Sarao to a bit more.

              • karl garcia says:

                if we only believe in ourselves, we could do a lot of manufacturing.

              • The Russians and the Chinese managed to upgrade their industrial capacity very quickly from being very backward countries. Filipinos have the typical Asian talent of being able to imitate everything, what is lacking of willpower and follow-through.

                Maybe the Russian recipe of making simple and robust stuff at the start makes sense – you can see it in their rocket systems and their especially in their trucks, cars and arms: they were made simple and cheap but robust. Upgrade as soon as you have experience.

              • Sal E. says:

                Irineo, JoeAm and Karl — thanks for the input. You all make very valid points. Yes, the transition from trains to buses on the existing MRT/LRT elevated tracks would be rather challenging since they would have to temporarily shut down heavily used routes. Also the design of our current buses would have to be changed for rapid boarding/disembarking (perhaps requiring another door to be installed on the left side or the back for disembarking).

                As for subways, Karl I do not know if it is worth it… you could be right. It brings to mind the problem plagued Boston Big Dig which took 12 years to complete and cost a whopping $24B… for 12 kms of roadway. And we have the ongoing saga of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project in Seattle which has been stalled because Bertha (the tunnel boring machine) broke when it hit pipes that were not supposed to be there. It just seems to me that tunnels are more problematic to build and maintain because of the underground aspect.

              • karl garcia says:

                OK thanks Sal. Unless we want to go waterless for the whole duration of the construction of subways, then scratch subways from dream list.

  29. Interesting app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.up.ittc.mmda

    The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) brings you MMDA for Android™.

    “Kamusta ang traffic sa tuwid na daan?”

    ★ Navigate your way through Metro Manila traffic
    ★ View the traffic situation in System, Map or Line View
    ★ View road incidents that might affect your normal travel times
    ★ Includes EDSA, C5, SLEX, Roxas Blvd, Ortigas, Commonwealth, Marcos Highway, Katipunan, España, & Quezon Ave.
    ★ Share or Report traffic info via Twitter
    ★ View problem areas so you can avoid them
    ★ MMDA FAQs built-in for your guidance
    ★ Includes MMDA Directory

    This application was developed by UP Information Technology Development Center (formerly UP ITTC) and MMDA under the leadership of Chairman Francis N. Tolentino.

    Traffic Data downloaded from the MMDA-TV5 Metro Manila Traffic Navigator
    Incidents feature powered by Vyrus

    • Sal E. says:

      A similar MMDA app is available for iOS. I highly recommend all drivers to use WAZE, but use a car charger. The more who use WAZE the more effective it is. 😉

    • chempo says:

      Thanks guys…nice to have for the geekies. Anything out there that makes life just a little bit better on the roads are appreciated.

  30. jay says:

    here is an idea. stop making so many damn babies. babies are from humping, not god dummies

  31. Summarized my take on the matter here: http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/metro-manila-traffic/

    Thanks chempo for the article and Joe for publishing it – have of course credited you in my blog.

    Thank you also to those who gave me insights on the current realities within this discussion! 🙂

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