Cutting traffic by half

Sir Pancho Abitria was a host and drinking buddy of mine when I conducted a news and feature writing workshop in Sorsogon City last week.

I stayed in the Arica Hotel, which Sir Pancho owns. In our drinking sessions, I was reoriented of my roots (my mother was a Bicolana) and more.

In one of the three nights of drinking brandy (we tried but failed to down one bottle), he told me he preferred to stay in the province because he could not stand Metro Manila traffic.

This is nothing new to me. In Davao City, where I stayed for a couple of years, the Metro Manila traffic was the single biggest factor Davaoeños stay away from the NCR.  With enough promotion, this would prevent migration of probinsyanos and probinsyanas to Metro Manila.

Anyway, I learned that Sir Pancho, probably out of compassion for the long-suffering Manileños, tried but failed to help ease traffic in the metropolis twice. He failed both times.

He has this brilliant plan of doing away with the number-coding as we know it today, he told me.

“How?” I asked. I wasn’t patronizing my host. I was really curious.

Before revealing the plan, he first told me that he first submitted his proposal to then Makati Mayor Jejomar B inay (now the country’s vice president), who was the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

“Binay ignored it,” Sir Pancho. So did Binay’s successor.

“I think it was Bunye,” he said.

Finally, he told me his plan: All even-numbered vehicles will be allowed in the main thoroughfares for one hour, say from 7 to 8 in the morning. Then, it’s the odd-numbered vehicles’ turn by 8-9 a.m.
And so on and so forth.

Voila! Metro Manila’s traffic is cut by half!

Honestly, this something that is worth considering.

Paging MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino!


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