Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said Sunday the fact that thousands of commuters were having an extremely difficult time getting to their destinations should prompt immediate action from the government.
He said action was necessary whether or not a crisis existed.
READ: Coding, coops eyed to solve traffic
While some people were preoccupied with semantics, students and employees were struggling daily to get to work or school.
“We must focus on finding solutions immediately. No one who commutes finds any amusement in the memes or satires about statements being made by this or that person, he said.
“What they [commuters] want is to know that something is being done and they are not being ignored.
Angara said the traffic along EDSA and the other major thoroughfares of Metro Manila was not going to ease anytime soon.
To make things worse, he said, the mass transit systems were breaking down, leaving commuters with few options on how to get from point A to point B.
While commuters were waiting for the big-ticket infrastructure projects and the rehabilitation of the Philippine National Railways, he said, there was one alternative that was easier and faster to implement: the Pasig River ferry system.
“I have mentioned this before after seeing the potential of the Pasig River ferry as a way to ease traffic in the metropolis, Angara said.
He said a feasibility study had already been conducted for this project, and that a fully operational ferry transport system could be ready in just one year.
He said unlike road infrastructure, which entailed massive disruptions to traffic and other issues such as road right of way, the Pasig River ferry project simply involved constructing or refurbishing the stations and purchasing the vessels.
There are now 14 ferry stations along the Pasig River, out of which only 11 are operational. The current line can transport passengers to Pasig, Mandaluyong, Makati and Manila.
The current fleet consists of nine passenger boats but only two are running daily.
Angara said improving ridership was definitely a challenge, but one that could easily be addressed by ensuring that the ferry system would be able to operate reliably and consistently.
Passengers needed to know that the ferry would arrive on time and they would get to their destinations on schedule.
“We need to get this done right away if we want to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, Angara said.
He said the major infrastructure projects would not be completed until after the Duterte administration.
“Let’s come up with ways to provide relief to our commuters at an earlier time,” he said.
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