More bang for the bucks

Published June 4, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Floro L. Mercene
Floro L. Mercene

By Floro L. Mercene


Transportation Secretary Art Tugade seems typical of the Filipino public servant who is in that lofty position to declare, ex cathedra, what he intends to do to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

This time he said they are “finalizing certain details” to convince proponents for a cable car system in the metropolis.

That means we would soon have something unproven without the benefit of a detailed study or a consensus among our citizens.

Did Sec. Tugade send somebody to Bolivia to find out why it seems successful there? Would the same success translate into the Philippine setting? Would this cable car be able to withstand the stresses of frequent typhoons, of which we have plenty?

Among the areas identified for the cable car system are the Pasig River, Boracay, and Baguio.

The reason many Filipinos object to such grandiose schemes, no matter how sincere they are, is that we are short in cash.

What little cash we have must be husbanded carefully and should be spent only on proven or fool-proof schemes.

“More bang for the bucks,” is a good attribute.

Our good secretary seems enamored of the gondola that transports citizens and tourists in the mountainous city of Bolivia.

Don’t get me wrong. There are 11 cities around the world that have cable cars for various needs. They have also experienced various degrees of success.

However, we noted that the Ngong Ping 360 gondola and the cable car in Ocean Park in Hong Kong, or Singapore’s or those in Aspen, Colorado, and elsewhere are mostly for tourists.

What we need today is something that would be able to cope with the hundreds of thousands of daily commuters going to and from work daily.

“Gondolas don’t move as many people as other types of mass transit, but as a supplement to existing systems,” according to studies.

The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) alone averaged around 263,000 passengers daily. That would be about 95 million passengers a year.

The number of people that Bolivia’s Mì Teleferico system transported was around 230,000 to 250,000 people a year.

That is only one day of MRT 3’s operation!