Jeepney modernization program won’t solve traffic woes
We recently made a call to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the officer on the line confirmed our great fear—that in the planned jeepney modernization program, the old jeepneys will not be scrapped. They will simply become big lumbering private
vehicles bearing one, two or three passengers. And in addition to the estimated 300,000 old jeepneys that will now operate as private vehicles, perhaps
another 150,000 new jeepneys will join the competition for
our limited road space. This will add up to the humongous increase in the number of vehicles in Metro Manila.
Another factor would be the 15-year-old taxicabs converted to private vehicles. Don’t forget the long-delayed imposition of the excise tax on new vehicles which sparked the supersurge of registration for new vehicles to beat the cut-off. (A better alternative would have been a
special tax on the use for the first five years of new vehicles purchased from the inauguration of President Duterte. All vehicles would have been covered and there would have been no effort to beat the gun.)
Another factor is the license to operate granted to Uber and Grab cars; we like them very much but they did jack up the number of vehicles on the roads. Then there is the number-coding scheme, which induced private car owners to get extra vehicles. The introduction of Point-to-Point or P2P buses may also be considered an additional factor, although the government can always cling to their belief that this encourages people to leave their cars at home.
Government leaders do not have to be bright for they can always copy what their counterparts in other countries do.
First, the government should adapt a certificate of entitlement system, where a certificate becomes available once a private vehicle is scrapped or taken out of circulation. Perhaps this regulation should be applicable to vehicles in highly-congested areas like Metro Manila and Metro
Cebu. And perhaps, instead of one vehicle out and one vehicle in, it should be five vehicles out and one vehicle in.
Secondly, all vehicle owners should have private parking spaces.
Thirdly, after five or 10 years, reregistration of vehicles should be made more difficult.
The great traffic problem may now be costing us P3 billion per day. It is causing us tremendous emotional and physical stress and the loss of hours in our daily lives to commuting alone. If the more or less 300,000 jeepneys are not junked or cast out of Metro Manila and other highly-congested areas, then the jeepney modernization program should simply be scrapped.
RENE TORRES, firstname.lastname@example.org
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