ADMITTEDLY, the Philippines is losing billions of pesos in economic opportunities due to the paralyzing traffic congestion in Metropolitan Manila (MM), particularly during “rush hours.”
It is one problem that angers the thousands of motorists, passengers and other commuters passing through historic EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Avenue) and most of MM’s major thoroughfares.
In fact, a well-meaning member of Congress, Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento of Samar, has expressed fears that the traffic woes in MM would deteriorate further as the long holiday season nears.
“We expect traffic to really get worse as we approach the Christmas season, so the government should really step up efforts to increase the capacity of its trains, especially the MRT 3,” said Sarmiento.
Although there has been a marked improvement regarding the operation of MRT-3 following the replacement of its maintenance service provider, capacity remains the biggest challenge that must be addressed.
During the holidays, the traffic situation in heavily-populated Metropolitan Manila is at its worst from November to December, when the people troop to shopping malls and department stores.
We share the view of Sarmiento that MM should brace for a full-blown transportation crisis if the government fails to increase the capacity of its train systems and improve their efficiency.
As furious motorists and commuters said, there is now that urgent need to address the decades-old traffic congestion problem in Metropolitan Manila, particularly along usually-busy EDSA.
If we can increase the capacity of our trains, he said, commuters, mostly workers and students, might just prefer riding on a train than being stuck on EDSA in their cars or public utility vehicles (PUVs).
We thus commend Congressman Sarmiento for urging the government, through the Department of Transportation (DoTr), to improve our train systems before the Christmas rush sets in.
Truth is, the only solution to MM’s traffic congestion is to improve the country’s train systems.