M ake greater use  of our water routes to ease traffic

Published December 10, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

There is good news for Cavite-Metro Manila commuters.  “Water  jeepneys “ between  the  Cavite City Port Terminal and  the Cultural  Center of the Philippines (CCP) Bay Terminal in Pasay City started Monday, cutting the three-to-four-hour  land travel  through  some of  the worst  traffic in Metro Manila to only 20 minutes.  And  rides will be free for  one month  to introduce the new service.

The Cavite ferry service complements the earlier Bataan-Metro Manila service which cut the  usual four-to-five-hour  trip through  Bulacan  and Pampanga  to  just  50 minutes.

With  such  great savings in time and effort for travelers,  it is a wonder  that we do not have  more such ferry services  connecting Metro Manila to so many  towns and cities  not only  around the bay but also up the Pasig River to Rizal and Laguna.

Traffic  has made Metro Manila one of the world’s worst  cities to work in.  It is home to to the nation’s national  government   offices and agencies, as well as the country’s principal business corporations.  In recent  years, the volume  of vehicles using Metro Manila’s streets and highways has multiplied many times, so that Metro Manila has become known as the worst  city to drive in.  Epifanio de los Santos Ave. (EDSA)  which  loops around Caloocan, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay +  has come to symbolize this state of traffic disorder.

At the start of his administration, President  Duterte  asked Congress fo “emergency powers” to solve the traffic problem but  Congress  has not granted these powers;  the Senate has instead asked  the Department of Transportation for a “master  plan.” The Metro Manila Development Authority has drawn up some of its own  plans, including banning provincial buses  from Metro Manila streets, but that has not worked out because new city buses then  had to move  them  on to their  destinations.

The government has  been constructing  alternate routes through the city, notably an  elevated highway connecting the North Luzon Expressway  (NLEX) to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and another elevated highway  connecting  NLEX to Radial Road 10 in the pier area.

There  is also a plan to make greater use of the Pasig River as a mass transport  route through a ferry system  from Manila Bay to Laguna de Bay with  12 stations  along the route, to be  expanded to 29 in four years.  The Department  of Budget and Management was leading the planning for this project  in April, 2018, but   nothing more was heard  about  it until  the MMDA announced last Monday that it was reactivating the service, also with free rides in December. .

In  the  ongoing  search for ways and means to ease Metro Manila‘s traffic, all possible  means must be considered. The elevated  highways  will  help but we should make greater use of our water routes. We thus welcome the new  ferry service  to Cavite City and  hope  other  ferry  routes  can be established  to  other  towns  around the bay and  along the Pasig, to  serve the  hundreds of thousands of  people who now have to battle  city traffic every morning and  every evening so they can work in the city.