July 23, 2024

Private cars and visitors with vehicles will be charged P250 or more every time they enter the central business district of Baguio City once the proposed Smart Urban Mobility Project is approved and implemented.

This is part of a proposed project presented through a public consultation on June 5 to solicit suggestions and comments on the plan to develop Baguio City’s transportation system and services using advanced technologies. 

Said project was an unsolicited proposal submitted by the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) to the city government of Baguio under the Public Private Partnership scheme where the private sector will invest their funds for the realization of projects with shared economic benefit to the local government unit.

The imposition of congestion fee similar to Singapore, London, Stockholm, Milan, and New York among other cities abroad will significantly reduce traffic at the CBD, reduce carbon emission, reduce energy consumption, promote discipline among drivers and motorists, and generate revenue for the local economy according to the MPTC.

In the proposal, public transportation, particularly jeepneys will be exempted from paying the congestion fee as well as vehicles driven by senior citizens and persons with disability, uniformed personnel on active duty, and emergency response vehicles.

Taxis will have a discounted congestion fee rate as well as government vehicles with approved travel order; while vehicles by Baguio residents will be qualified for rebates as proposed.

The MPTC proposes a “holistic approach to solving not only traffic but improving overall mobility” specifically the integration of city services to mobility applications; mobility fee or congestion fee charging; transport service platform; smart traffic command center; smart parking facilities; and traffic enforcement.

The corporation envisions a Singapore-like transport system in Baguio where the riding public can monitor road conditions real-time using mobile applications as well as book or reserve parking spaces prior to arrival to lessen the amount of time and petroleum consumed going around looking for possible parking sites.

Road accidents will likewise be addressed immediately if the smart traffic command center is in place to monitor roads and dispatch responders if necessary.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the city is now on the negotiating table for the terms and conditions before the proposed project is submitted to the city council for appropriate action. – Jessa Mardy Samidan