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Rough Cuts | The city can win this fight

“You won’t win if you don’t begin.”

This is one quote we got from the book “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!” by Robert H. Schuller.

Yes, Davao City is now starting to feel the impact of the execution by our leaders of the long-dreamed of development. And we are referring to the burgeoning vehicular traffic in the city’s major thoroughfares leading to the main business district.

Whether one comes from the south, north, northwest or southwest sectors of the city there are now more hours of the day that traffic gets heavier delaying to the maximum movements of people.

One reason given by the city’s traffic managers of this phenomenon is that because of the fast growing economy of Davao its residents are getting rewarding employment. As a consequence they start having more disposable income. They can afford houses in subdivisions now located in the city’s outskirts. And they have even extra money to buy some luxuries like cars.

Moreover, with the growing number of people living outside the city proper those who are more enterprising and have the necessary capital have invested in public transport business mostly the small capacity jeepneys.

But even as these public utility vehicles have grown in number quite fast there remain certain areas that are underserved. And this is because the routes are considered by the more greedy transport operators as wanting in “Return on Investment” or non-ROI areas.

On the other hand, the more lucrative routes are also converted by public transportation owners into some kind of a beehive where even the most rickety of vehicles are fielded. With the disproportionate fielding of public transport there are times of the day when passengers wanting to go to the city’s main business district during lull hours end up waiting much longer to get a ride.

Also, during peak hours both in the morning and afternoon, passengers going to the downtown area or going to the peripheral districts have to crowd in areas used as terminals and compete with each other for space every time the smaller jeeps arrive.

This is so in spite of the fact that there are already so many of them now.

The solution being thought of by the city’s traffic managers to arrest the proliferation of vehicles in the roads is the introduction of the so-called Davao Interim Bus System or DIBS. But as its name suggests, it is for the meantime, temporary.

The system has been talked about for quite some time already, as the best option meanwhile that the construction of more roads and other transport infrastructure are still to be completed or in the pipeline yet. However, the DIBS has remained on top of the drawing board until lately.

Only recently however, that the plan was given not just a push but a strong shove when the kind of experimental fielding of public utility buses in the Catalunan Grande-Downtown Davao, and Toril-Downtown Davao routes somehow proved successful.

Yes, the fielding of some elegant, clean and comfortable buses to augment public transportation in the two routes mentioned has been welcomed by commuters. The amenities offered by these buses have enticed to the maximum the public patronage that they would not even mind standing the entire travel time.

Last week, there was this piece of good news that finally, the DIBS will be expanded. In addition to the present routes being served by augmentation buses, the C.P. Garcia Diversion Highway will be provided public utility buses to give residents along the route without private rides opportunity for low-fared commute. This new route, according to Asst. City Administrator Dwight Domingo, will be serviced with 10 buses.

Domingo added in his statement that the deployment of the 10 buses on the Diversion highway route is premised on the idea that these units will not add up to the vehicles crowding the main routes going to the central business district.

Our reading of the Assistant Administrator’s pronouncement is that the diversion route will just be a feeder one, and that it has to have designated stops where regular transport vehicles pass by to pick up passengers.

On the other hand, Domingo’s statement that the 25 buses that will be deployed in the Catalunan Grande-Downtown Davao route “will replace the 69 jeepney units currently plying” the area is clear and simple. The smaller public transportation units will be phased out totally.

With this move, we can safely say that what the young assistant city administrator has in mind is the reduction by 44 vehicles off the road.

Just when will this DIBS thing be started exactly? We hope it will be soonest than sooner. But one thing certain though is that the city has a fast growing vehicular traffic problem to fight and hopes to vanquish before it morphs into unconquerable proportion.

This is one fight that the city can hope to win since the measure adopted is about to begin.

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