Senator Nancy Binay has asked the government’s transportation and traffic management agencies to extend their service hours in anticipation of the large number of rush-hour shoppers during the last week before Christmas.
“If ‘we got it all for you’ is the answer of malls, that should also be the answer of the government when it comes to public vehicles,” said Binay on Sunday.
She specifically called on the Department of Transportation, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and the operators of the Mass Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit systems to stretch their working hours to complement the 11 am to 11 pm mall hours.
Commuters and motorists have complained of spending more than three hours on the road and arriving home as late as 3 am, as traffic has worsened with malls operating until near-midnight, Binay noted.
Recent intermittent rains and the crush of people doing last-minute shopping and going to late-night Christmas parties has added to the usual traffic woes in the metropolis.
“Is this the new normal traffic, or is this more burdensome to our commuters due to the extended mall hours?” she asked.
“Shout out to our authorities at the Department of Transportation at MMDA if they can extend MRT and LRT time to help ease traffic on major roads and have additional option for our commuters and consumers to comfortably go home,” the senator said.
Commuters are trying to beat each other to “limited seats” on buses and jeepneys once malls close, Binay noted, as the train systems close earlier at around 10 to 10:30 pm.
“This is one of the reasons I see that leads to heavy traffic in the late evening,” she added.
The legislator also appealed to the MMDA to field more traffic enforcers during evenings to ensure that traffic flows smoothly.
“I hope the MMDA will add, with the help of our local government units’ enforcers, to manage traffic especially in the vicinity of malls,” Binay said.
She also encouraged the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to grant more special point-to-point (P2P) bus franchises and routes to entice more motorists to shift to commuting.
“More people could be inspired to take public transport if there are more options for them to commute, especially in terms of new and additional P2P busses and routes,” Binay said.
With more buses available, “a lot more private vehicles could be gone from the roads,” she added.
Binay also expressed hope that the Pasig River Ferry service would be restarted soon.