By Neal H. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Before they even think of embarking on a massive two-year repair work on Edsa, they should first solve the infernal traffic jams there. Even on the best of days, a trip by motor vehicle from Quezon City to Makati takes at least one hour. On the worst days, especially during Fridays, paydays and bargain-sale days (in any of the shopping malls along the thoroughfare), the trip is usually more than double that long. Imagine what will happen if the whole stretch of Edsa is repaired, for two years! It would be hell on earth!
Government agencies, especially the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), seem at a loss on what to do with the traffic problem there. Yet any damn fool can see what is causing it—too many vehicles on the same street at the same time. As the saying goes, “You cannot put 10 pounds of s–t in a 5-pound bag.” To be able to do that, you have to reduce the 10 pounds of s–t into 5 pounds. It is the same thing with Edsa: You have to reduce the number of vehicles there according to the holding capacity of the thoroughfare. The government itself says that Edsa endures daily three times the number of vehicles it was designed for. Ergo, reduce the number of vehicles there by two-thirds. The question is, how?
The MMDA has tried color-coding or, more accurately, the “numbers game.” Vehicles are banned from Edsa on a certain day of the week, depending on the last digit of their plate number: 1 and 2 on Mondays, 3 and 4 on Tuesdays and so forth. But the trick hardly makes a dent on the vehicle volume on Edsa. The operators and owners of buses and private vehicles simply switch their plates. So the government had the plate numbers of the buses painted in big black numerals on the sides of the buses, but no such thing can be done on private vehicles; many owners simply buy a spare vehicle—on easy installment terms—for the days when one of their vehicles is banned from Edsa.