Metro Manila is going to encounter what I call a Traffic Tragedy. This week work on the Skyway Project 3, which would connect South to North or vice versa, started already. People and the Philippine government are panicking, as they are anticipating the head ache inducing traffic congestion that would ensue, as construction will be starting soon, and some of the roads are being closed/narrowed to make way for the project. I do concur with the initial reaction of the public, but I would like to point out to the Philippine government, that there are a few avenues that can be explored, to lessen the impact of the major road projects that would last for 2 years or more.
The government could revive the Pasig River Ferry Service, which would provide an alternative mode of transportation for the public, as long as the Pasig River is cleaned, so as not to hamper the operations of the ferry service, and also informal settlers along the Pasig River should be relocated, so as not to add to the pollution of the river. The ferry service could also be a tourist attraction likes the river or ferry services of European cities, if all of those mentioned before are met. Also the ferry service would be running smoothly as there is no traffic in the river passages, which would mean faster travel time for the public.
Also the government could adapt what is already present in Europe, in developed cities, and even in our very own backyard. What I mean is the rent a bike program and bike paths in major cities overseas. This would provide alternative mode of transport and at the same time a healthy way to exercise for the public. Our very own Makati has a bike rental program in place already, which we can further enhance and replicate in Metro Manila cities.
Also we can use the existing transport facilities we have, such as the PNR (Philippine National Railways) train which plies from Alabang to Tutuban, the LRT, and MRT. We just need to have it developed further, such as adding train service, frequency, and if possible add more carriages/cabins.
There is also another alternative mode, which is popular in the United States, which is the carpooling. This would lessen the numbers of vehicles on the roads, and save more on fuel. In the U.S. the system works like this, in a neighborhood one person with a vehicle(car/van) picks up those who joined the carpool, and brings them to a certain location close to the working locations of those who joined the carpool. Each passenger either pitch in by paying for fuel, and other costs (parking, incidentals) incurred by the vehicle, during the duration of the carpooling, this is done on a monthly, weekly, daily basis, depending on the vehicles owners whim. This can be done either one way or roundtrip, based on the agreement that was made.
There are various possibilities to explore. The only thing that would make it all work is through the cooperation of the government, and the public. Because if either one of them, does not do its part, then the whole system will not work, adding to more head aches for both parties.