Calamba City commuters, pedestrians, motorists laud orderly trike traffic experiment

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna Mar. 4 (PNA) – Constitutionalists, commuters, pedestrians, motorists and passengers on Tuesday lauded efforts on cleaner and orderly Crossing or intersection in this city from its usual traffic hotspot scenario.

Calamba City Mayor Justin Marc “Timmy” Chipeco has ordered a review and crafting of a re-routing scheme for tricycles to ease the congested traffic situation in the city’s major thoroughfare and commercial district, Calabarzon’s gateway and regional government hub.

Sources at the Mayor’s office disclosed the city local chief executive was annoyed after making a series of surprise on-site inspections at the main Crossing and junction with tricycles and jeepneys that ply the routes making illegal terminals and parking stops in disarray.

Mayor Chipeco projected that as Calamba’s economy grows it ushers in new and emerging markets and as key player and host of nine industrial parks and economic zones in the Calabarzon Region an influx may result to a backlash especially on traffic and transportation flow.

Following the City Mayor’s directive to tackle the number one problem on traffic congestion, Millet Revano, city sectoral affairs chief, said the Mayor has ordered a dialogue and informal meeting with the tricycle operators and drivers’ association (TODA) on Tuesday at the Watermart Calamba where some TODA members staged their rally.

Revano said the city government’s initial dialogue and consultations with the trike drivers will be reported to the soon-to-be formed Traffic Rerouting Committee to draft the traffic system and rerouting plan.

The sectoral affairs chief also assured to sustain the dialogue and consultations of the city’s concerned officials with leaders of the United Calamba City Central Terminal – Real – Bayan TODA at the city hall and schedule another Traffic Rerouting Committee meeting on Wednesday.

She pointed out city officials concerned from her sectoral affairs office, Business Permit and License Office (BPLO) with its tricycle franchising function, Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) and City Traffic Management Office (CCTMO) are addressing the traffic concerns.

In an interview with the Philippines News Agency here on Tuesday, retired police Colonel Nestor dela Cueva, POSO department head, stressed city government’s main concern to decongest the traffic at Crossing and rerouting vehicular travel in Barangays Parian, Halang, Lecheria, Real and Poblacion.

“We apologize for the temporary inconvenience to commuters but this is just an experiment and we sustain our series of meetings and consultations with the affected transport group,” dela Cueva said.

The traffic re-routing experiment is implemented in two weeks as POSO and CCTMO put up some road signages and signboards to guide the public and commuters on the new routes and directions.

Dela Cueva also said they will assess the outcome of the meeting and the dry-runs and come up with whatever best solution that would be implemented with due consideration for the greatest good for the greatest number.

The POSO chief dela Cueva explained the technical group is tasked to assess the dry-runs and experiment and recommends the traffic system if this turns out well or scrap and revise the plan if there are some kinks to be ironed out.

He also said “we are open to suggestions and recommendations from the public and have distributed flyers through both the Public Affairs and the Information Offices” for further evaluations.

For his part, Ibarra Francisco G. Encarnacion, BPLO department head, said his office only accommodated renewal of tricycle franchise in January as city regulation grants the franchise validity for three years subject to yearly renewal.

“This trike franchise renewal follows after the renewal of registration at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) but we have to also oversee, inspect and review their franchise,” Encarnacion explained.

Enforcing Mayor Chipeco’s order, Encarnacion said CCTMO is deputized by the LTO which has the power to arrest illegal tricycle operators in the city.

Initial operations by the BPLO reported a huge number of “colorum” or illegal and unregistered tricycles operating in the city.

Encarnacion also said franchise issuance depends on the approval by the City Council although scores of tricycles already ply the routes even if they are unregistered because of increasing demand for the customary mode of transport for short distances and market to village mobility.

Proposals by some TODA leaders included opening of new franchise but city officials mulled for the “selective franchise” scheme especially for those plying the routes to Calamba’s upland villages and newly-developed subdivisions.

Encarnacion also urged TODA members to police their ranks and ward off “colorum” tricycles from their designated terminal and authorized parking areas.

But the Calamba City BPLO chief also admitted some TODA members tolerated the “samahan” (association) practice because these “illegal” or un-franchised tricycles are driven or operated by their relatives.(PNA)