Netizens oppose congestion pricing scheme
Even if the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is only starting discussions with the Singaporean government on how it can implement in the country its own congestion pricing scheme, netizens are already voicing out their opposition over the initiative as they noted that discipline should first be returned in the streets by imposing higher penalties against traffic violators.
In an informal poll conducted by the Inquirer on Wednesday, 2,049 Facebook users disagreed to the MMDA’s planned traffic reduction measure which would set a fee for motorists who would use Edsa, especially during rush hour. Only 684 users welcomed the proposal, which if implemented will replace the unified vehicular volume reduction program, or the number coding scheme.
Netizen Clem Ibasco said that instead of imposing a fee for using Edsa, especially during rush hour, what the MMDA should do is to increase by up to 200 percent its penalty for motorists who obstruct traffic flow, illegally park their cars and operate without the necessary franchise (colorum).
“[L]et’s see who the hell would try to violate your regulations [by then],” Ibasco said.
Currently, the MMDA only charges motorists P500 for those who illegally park their cars, P2,000 for those who drive against traffic and P200,000 for colorum vans.
Just on Monday, the MMDA towed 31 cars and issued 79 citation tickets to motorists who illegally parked their cars in Quezon City. This is on top of the 243 traffic violators noted by the agency under the no contact apprehension policy.
Another netizen Steno Padilla also suggested that instead of charging motorists for using Edsa, what the government should work on is to impose higher taxes for newly purchased cars given the huge volume of cars in the capital, which to date stands at more than 2.5 million.
MMDA officer in charge and general manager Tim Orbos earlier said that there was a need to have an innovative approach in reducing the volume of vehicles plying Edsa, especially since 80 percent of the capital’s roads were being used by private cars.
He noted that their agency is studying the congestion pricing scheme with Singapore’s transport ministry, while the government is still working on improving the capital’s mass transport systems.
Apart from Singapore, other major cities that currently implement such scheme are London, Milan and Stockholm.
Netizen Mary Judith Mante is among those who welcomed the scheme, noting its effectiveness in other countries. She pointed out though that this should be implemented with an effective mass transport so that the public would have an alternative and be encouraged to leave their cars at home.
Orbos maintained on Wednesday that while they are studying the congestion pricing scheme, they are not letting up in their programs to restore discipline back in the streets, like the relentless clearing up of roads. He noted that this is just part of their holistic approach to address congestion in Metro Manila by employing a technology-based solution.
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