The Lone Elevator Crisis
Imagine a 50-storey building that has only one elevator. That lone machine will take hundreds of people to their offices on different floors. So at around 7am, the line entering the elevator starts to pile up. The same situation happens at 5pm in the afternoon as most of the people are going out the office. On both scenarios, it will take the last man on the line an hour to be able to ride the honorable machine.
The building depicts Metro Manila while the elevator is our traffic situation. Don't get me wrong. We got lots of different means of transportation and we're not complaining about the scarcity of it. To me, the lack of competitiveness of our transport system is the same as the single elevator in an overcrowded building. Its going to break down sometime. As my simple advocacy, I offer some proposals or ways to minimize the traffic here.
Imagine if the building is the only occupant on an open area, 10-km radius. The society keeps on adding more and more floors on top of the building not realizing the massive area nearby. They could make more buildings and eventually leading to a healthier economy, and so on. Metro Manila is far more concentrated than other provinces or regions The urban area is home to 12.7 million people! Ilocos Region, Bicol, Central, and Northern Luzon, etc, are all wide and prosperous regions. The people have high potentials too, just like those people flocking in Metro Manila. We have an imbalanced economy. Let's admit it. Investors couldn't find the potential of investing million-peso businesses in such rural areas. However, some business firms doesn't REALLY need to be situated in NCR. Call center companies? No. The reason? Market. Who are there clients? Manileños? Maybe most. But they don't have to meet them or what. (I'm only talking about offices where they do transactions solely thru phone.) Is it a strategic location for them? I don't think so. So my first method is to disperse business firms in provinces and making stricter regulations on this. Actually, this is a borrowed analogy from a brilliant guy (sorry to forgot the name) I heard over the radio. So c'mon society, exploit other opportunities! Employees here would be also be able to work near their families. Wouldn't that be great?
I have another proposal, and this is very basic that some developed countries were already practicing it. Walking and biking! If you are just within 1 kilometer away from your office, you can ride your own bike. This way, you can save money and time! Not only that, you will absolutely contribute to a cleaner air. We do not have to rely on many jeepneys or trikes on the street. Besides, biking is fun! Walking is healthy and I don't know why we are lazy enough not to walk a little longer than 50 meters. I notice that most of us want to drop off on our exact destination. Logically, it should be, right? But the case is different if we drop off at a prohibited area. It causes traffic and even accidents! Just drop at the nearest stopover and walk. Period!
My last proposal is to divide working time across all business sectors and government agencies. Okay, its complicated at first but try to remember the lone elevator in that single building. Employees are stacked most of the time at 7am and 5pm. Why are those times the common rush hours? Because the most common working time implemented is 8am-5pm. Employees going in and out of office are on the road, rushing not to be late and flooding the streets just to get on a vehicle. If this kind of system is implemented, problems occurring from strict working schedule like securing some government documents as public agencies are not available during the weekend. If time is stretched, we would have more time for ourselves and families than time being on the road due to traffic.
"A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport" – paraphrased from Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. It is equality and progress emanating from a decent transport system. It would be awesome but unfortunately, its only possible on developed countries were people are well-disciplined (not necessarily well-educated).