Adjusted mall hours could help ease traffic in NCR - Zamora

San Juan City Mayor and Metro Manila Council (MMC) President Francis Zamora on Tuesday, May 7, said the proposed adjustment of Metro Manila mall hours will help ease the traffic situation in the National Capital Region (NCR) as this was proven to be effective during Christmas time.


Mayor Francis Zamora

"Nakikita kasi natin na tuwing pasko, it is effective dahil unang una pag pasko, talagang natural sa ating mga tao ang pumunta sa mall para bumili ng mga pamasko at kumain kasama ang pamilya kaya talagang dagsa ang tao sa mga malls kapag November and December. That is why we shift the mall hours so that they will close later para imbis na sumabay ang mallgoers sa rush hour, medyo dun na muna sila sa mall hanggang mga 11 p.m. para pag uwi nila ng 11 p.m., hindi na sila kasabay ng rush hour (We are seeing its effectiveness during Christmas because first of all, it is natural for us to go to malls to buy gifts and eat outside with our family, hence the influx of people to malls during the months of November and December. That is why we shifted the mall hours so that they will close later to prevent mall goers in adding up to the rush hour traffic)," Zamora said in a radio interview.

"We are analyzing this one ngayon if it will have the same effect dahil ngayon ay buwan ng Mayo hindi naman masasabing peak season pa ng malls. (We are now analyzing this if it will have the same effect because this month of May is not considered as a peak season in malls)," he added.

The mayor explained that he has already informed Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Romando Artes about the proposal which will be discussed during the next MMC meeting.

Zamora said the adjusted mall hours in the NCR was suggested as a way of solving the traffic situation in the metropolis, considered as one of the worst in the world.

"Yung mall hours na hindi lang dapat talaga sila sumasabay sa rush hour, kumbaga maging standard operating hours ng malls, imumungkahi ko ho yan pag nag-usap ulit kami ng aming Metro Manila Council (I would suggest to the Metro Manila Council to standardize mall hours that will not fall within the rush hours)," Zamora noted.

On May 2, the sixteen cities and lone municipality in Metro Manila started the implementation of its  adjusted working hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Zamora said there are more than 100,000 LGU employees who will be traveling to their work places an hour earlier than regular commuters and motorists during rush hour.

"Yung 112,000 na mga taong ito ay hindi sasabay sa rush hour araw araw. Isipin nyo kung gaano kadaming tao at sasakyan yan na iiwas na sumabay sa ibang mga sasakyan tuwing rush hour (These 112,000 individuals will not be part of the rush hour. Just think of how many people and vehicles will be removed from our streets during rush hour)," he explained.

Despite the new schedule, the mayor noted that each LGU still has the freedom to implement its own flexible time schedules.

"With only 22 percent of the total 645,000 permanent government employees in NCR, peak hours will be spread out. There is also a huge impact in public utility vehicles ridership with almost half a million government employees commuting. From our observation 4pm is off-peak hours in terms of ridership, the employees can easily go home while those in the private sector can expect decongested public transportation,” Artes said.

Citing what it described as a comprehensive examination on the prevailing traffic condition in Metro Manila, the MMC said the existing traffic congestion in Metro Manila has highlighted the need for innovative measures to address it.

The council explained that the 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. working hours would certainly ease congestion in Metro Manila roads since this means that government workers would have time to adjust their travel time.

Another benefit of the adjustment of working hours, according to the resolution, is that government workers would no longer be joining employees of private companies that usually implement the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours during the morning and afternoon rush hours.