December 6, 2023

The unbearable traffic congestions suffered by Baguio residents and tourists alike during the Yuletide break is enough reason for the city government to stop lifting the city’s number coding scheme during holidays and long weekends.
During the recent holidays, Baguio and the nearby towns of La Trinidad, Tuba, and parts of Itogon in Benguet have again witnessed the influx of countless people to these parts of the country and its resulting horror – monstrous traffic jams that have impact on the lives of already beleaguered populace.
For weeks, long queues of passengers have dotted jeepney terminals, waiting for vehicles to ferry them to their workplace or to bring them home.
The measures carried out, such as using the city’s coaster and bus, may have helped, but it barely solved the problem.
The real culprit to the traffic congestion was the large volume of vehicles traversing Baguio’s narrow roads. Adding several units to ferry passengers from their workplaces to their homes and vice versa did not help as well, as they were caught just the same in traffic.
This makes it illogical to lift the number coding scheme for private cars, especially at times when we expect a lot of people to troop to the city.
The measure, passed in 2003, was meant to limit the number of cars plying the road, purposely to curb traffic congestion and allow a seamless travel for residents and visitors. That was 16 years ago, when there were lesser number of cars and when travel time to the city from the National Capital Region was not cut short.
With more than 65,000 public and private vehicles registered at the Land Transportation Office Baguio alone plus the huge volume of vehicles used by tourists, lifting the number coding has choked every nook and cranny of the city, which only has less than 10,000 available public and private parking slots.
Instead therefore of lifting the number coding scheme, the city government should strictly implement the same, not to deter tourists from visiting the city, but to at least lessen the burden that everybody has to endure when the city’s thoroughfares are choked by vehicles. Even with the number coding in effect, tourists will still come to the city. There is no doubt about that.
We boast our city to be among the best destinations in the country and a strictly implemented traffic regulation will not deter visitors from coming here.
The horrors we endured and will continue to endure should also serve as a wakeup call for private car owners to comply with our own rules and stop anticipating the suspension of the number coding scheme. After all, finding a solution to the traffic problem is not all government work. Sometimes, compliance among the governed is what’s lacking.
Sure, we expect the government to be ideal, but at times when our expectations fail us, the solution should come from us. Adherence to the rules is one small but effective way to help the traffic managers achieve order.
But still, we maintain that the city should stop lifting the number coding scheme. Baguio residents and tourists deserve better. Free us from the horrors of traffic congestion.