Sunday, January 24, 2016

Roxas least qualified to solve Metro Manila traffic problem — transport expert


Problems surrounding Metro Manila's mass transit system was discussed in the second election roundtable of CNN Philippines — an issue that voters might consider in the coming elections.


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A transportation expert thinks presidential candidate Manuel "Mar" Roxas II is not the best choice when it comes to addressing mass transit problems in Metro Manila.
Roxas had the chance to address the problems in 2011 when he was appointed as secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), but “he failed,” Rene Santiago said Friday (January 22) during the second election roundtable of CNN Philippines.
The roundtable discussed problems surrounding Metro Manila's mass transit system, an issue that voters might consider in the coming elections.
Asked on who among the presidential candidates has concrete answers to address the issue, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said his vote is for Roxas, his predecessor.
“I merely continued on his programs and enhanced it… Definitely, we want the 'Daang Matuwid' to continue,” he said.
“Just give us time. He'll be reaping the benefits. He'll be cutting the ribbons of the solutions that we're providing today,” he added.
Santiago, however, answered that he sees Rodrigo Duterte and Jejomar Binay as the most qualified to solve mass transit issues as they have local experience as mayors.
“I'm not rooting for any of them,” he clarified. “I'm just saying, from the context of their experience and the record of all the candidates, they are the two that probably have the best experience to go with mass transit,” he said.

Reducing private cars

Building efficient and reliable mass transit systems is seen as one way to solve Metro Manila’s traffic problem.
Motoring journalist James Deakin said having the mass transit system in the metro “sorted out,” could reduce the use of private cars.
“If there’s any sector that I’ll represent will be the private cars. I know that most of us would gladly give up our rides if we have a mass transit system,” he said.

Abaya agreed saying that with the better economy, there are more opportunities to invest in train systems, bus rapid transit systems, and integrated transport systems, among others.
One project he mentioned was its point-to-point (P2P) nonstop bus service, launched to lessen traffic congestion during the holidays.
“[A] bus is much more efficient than a car. Takes about two and a half of road space of a car but can carry probably 10 times more passengers,” Abaya said.
Similar nonstop bus services were launched by Transportation officials before. One of them was the MRT Bus Route aimed at providing passengers an alternative to the MRT-3, with its long lines, packed coaches, and limited trains. The MRT-3 was built to help lessen traffic congestion on EDSA.

He also highlighted that the country was the first one to provide a regulatory framework for app-based transport like Uber, Grab Taxi, and Grab Car.
But Santiago said he is still unconvinced by the Aquino administration’s efforts.
“In so far as the mass transit system, this administration could have completed 50 kilometers more rail lines by this year. It would end up with zero completed kilometers. If you call that an accomplishment, that's not in my book,” he said.
http://cnnphilippines.com/metro/2016/01/23/roxas-binay-duterte-mass-transit.html

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