The Senate, at this writing, is discussing whether to grant government emergency powers to deal with Metro Manila’s monstrous traffic problem.
Many people are uneasy about the idea, as past experience shows it is quite easy to abuse emergency powers.
Besides, the no-window policy shows that a simple, common sense solution may actually work. The policy means that vehicles that should be off the streets on particular days because of their plate numbers are not allowed on the road at all, even for a few hours.
Motorists have noted some improvement in traffic on Edsa, as the no-window policy removes thousands of vehicles from clogged streets.
I have repeatedly said that removing traffic obstructions, like illegally parked vehicles and illegal public utility vehicle terminals, will give motorists more alternative routes.
Right now, for instance, Singalong and San Andres Streets are being dug up to improve the drainage system. Although only half the streets are passable, jeepneys still stop at street corners and pretty much anywhere to wait for passengers.
Privately owned vehicles are still parked on both sides of the roads, some even at street corners. Barangay officials and the police do not seem to notice.
Somebody asked recently why I still use GrabTaxi instead of Uber or GrabCar. Last Sunday, when I had to go to Farmers’ Market, I finally realized why I preferred a taxi, especially when coming from my apartment.
Taxi drivers, because they do not want to get lost and waste time and gas, follow clients’ directions, while car drivers tend to follow Waze. The app is useful when you are trying to find routes where traffic is lighter but, in my case at least, it misdirects the driver. It often tells him to go to the street behind my apartment, even if the address I give is on Singalong, because it tracks my mobile phone signal.
Waze also tells the driver to stop about 20 meters from where I am.
Speaking of Uber, how does one send a complaint to its office? I had a lunch appointment in Quezon City on Oct. 28. Checking the rate for Uber, I saw a notification that a car was 13 minutes away. I exited the app and made other transport arrangements.
When I went home in an Uber car, I found that I was “fined” P100 for supposedly canceling the “trip” earlier.
It seems the Uber app is faster than the fastest gun in the West. I tried to protest that I did not book the trip, but the app complaint templates did not include what I wanted to say. I sent an e-mail and was given a link, which I could not access because it would not accept my password.
I have not booked with Uber since, fearing I would be charged just by accessing the app.
And what happens when the client is inconvenienced? On Oct. 21, I booked a car to go to Crowne Plaza for lunch. I thought I would be on time as a car was on its way to pick me up at about 11 a.m. But the driver canceled about 100 meters away because of a temporary traffic buildup.
I managed to get a GrabCar half an hour later. The driver even patiently turned around when he realized he had driven past, but I was terribly late.
Commuters get a 30-percent discount, or P100 to P70 on fares, for Robinsons Malls P2P (point-to-point) bus service from Robinsons Novaliches to Ayala and vice versa this November. Persons with disabilities, students and senior citizens pay P56 instead of P80.
Robinsons Novaliches is holding its Annual Christmas Bazaar until January 2017, 10 a.m. to 12 midnight.
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