July 23, 2024

With a background and expertise on traffic and transportation behind me, I carefully reviewed the smart mobility project proposal of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC).
With a P3.1 billion investment that needs to be recouped by company to the Baguio community, which includes a P250 congestion fee, I found these possible effects on the community once the proposal is approved for implementation.
First, traffic congestion is in the periphery. Contrary to the findings by MPTC that the central business district is congested, the congestion fee proposal is the one that will cause it.
As drivers attempt to avoid the congestion fee, traffic might increase in areas surrounding the CBD. This could lead to more bottlenecks and increased congestion in peripheral areas. I can prove and stand by this statement in a proper forum.
Second, reduced commercial activities in the CBD. During peak hours, businesses in the CBD might experience a decline in customers due to the additional cost of entering the area. This could hurt local businesses, especially those reliant on foot traffic and frequent visits.
Third, financial burden.The fee could place an additional financial strain on businesses operating within the CBD and individuals who cannot avoid the area. Small businesses and low-income residents might be disproportionately affected.
Fourth, backlash from motorists.
Motorists from Benguet and other areas who pass through the CBD might also strongly oppose the proposed congestion fee, leading to public dissatisfaction and possible protests. This backlash could strain relations between Baguio and Benguet authorities.
Fifth, possible legal problems because of infringement on Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board operations and control.
The LTFRB, which has its own system requirements for public utility jeepneys, might see the MPTC takeover of the management/operation of Baguio PUJ as encroaching on its regulatory functions. This could lead to conflicts and legal disputes.
The implementation of the various traffic fees like congestion charges, might be seen as infringing on the government’s inherent police power, as our laws define it and can’t be assigned to any private entity like MPTC.
Sixth, possible reduction in income of PUJ drivers/operators. With MPTC managing PUJ transportation, including the use of tap cards for fare payment, a portion of the collected fares could go to MPTC as part of their management supervision operations entail costs.
How much is this amount? MPTC must be transparent by letting this known to our PUJ drivers/operators before the proposal gets a possible nod from our elected officials.
Part of MPTC proposal is to implement no-contact traffic apprehensions once the Supreme Court lift its temporary restraining order.
This scheme might cause possible traffic confusion and financial burden to Baguio motorists since MPTC will be the one collecting and identifying all traffic violations in the city.
Is MPTC competent enough to handle and knowledgeable of all traffic standards which will become the basis of traffic violations?