The “ber” month is just around the corner. Two more sleep and voila, the “ber” months are here. For some, Christmas songs will start filling the airwaves. For others, specifically, the commuters, it would mean more time spent for travel.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) may again push for the use of the Mabuhay or Christmas lane that started in 2010, when now Senator Francis Tolentino headed MMDA, as alternative route for private vehicles by going through the side streets to decongest the main thoroughfare EDSA.
Right now, MMDA is banging its head, going back to the drawing board to look for an acceptable scheme or schemes as the dry-run banning provincial buses from traversing EDSA created an immeasurable traffic jam, resulting in a public uproar.
A cost-benefit analysis done by the owner and operator of provincial buses plying Northern and Central Luzon that participated in the MMDA dry run, a copy of which I obtained in the course of my research, showed that if this scheme will be enforced permanently, it could dent his firm’s bottomline by P98 million a year.
Income from its first-class bus line is estimated to dip by 3.25 percent to P5.833 million from the current P6.027 million. Estimated monthly losses could hit P195,884.00 or about P2.35 million annually.
For its regular air-con bus line, the monthly revenue loss is roughly P5.278 million, or P63.34 million annually. The simulations are just from one route alone, servicing passengers from the north to Cubao, Quezon City.
To recoup the expected losses, it could mean an increase in the fare.
While, MMDA is open to proposals for a new scheme to decongest EDSA, the daily commute appears to have worsened based on the shout-out in social media with comments such as “so near and yet so far;” gridlock is the “new normal;” to the doubling of the driving time from 30 minutes to 60 minutes and a “three-hour ride” from Makati to Quezon City.
On a personal note, I, too, was in the same situation. On an uneventful Wednesday, early evening without rain, it took me two hours from the heart of Makati Central Business District (CBD) to reach Valdez St., a side street along Makati Avenue, for my dinner appointment at Bistro Manuel. I hit the CBD road at 6:20 p.m. thinking I had more than enough travel time to be prompt. My travel estimate was totally skewed as I was stuck in a gridlock.
Being considered now is the proposal of Engineer Fernando Guevara to enforce a one-way traffic in EDSA and C5. Mr. Fernando, president and managing partner of GPI Engineers, Inc., suggested that EDSA be confined to vehicles travelling south while C5 will be for those going north.
I fervently wish this would be the right solution. But prior to enforcement, I do hope MMDA in collaboration with other concerned agencies, will thoroughly study the proposal because the workforce’ productivity and the flow of domestic trade and commerce have suffered unduly because of the traffic.
Now, heard from the business halls: Philippine Airlines Senior Vice President (SVP) for planning and marketing Lito Alvarez will have his last day this September 15. While moored at the office of the president since the last quarter of 2018 up until the recent assumption of Gilbert Santa Maria as president and chief operating officer, SVP Nicky Gozon returned to the operations division specifically assigned for special projects.
And from the banking community: BDO Universal Bank has been one of the several lenders tapped by a business conglomerate to underwrite its P10 billion worth of five-year bonds to be floated within the next few weeks. Proceeds will finance its maturing preferred shares estimated at P6.7 billion.
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