Suggestions for beating traffic as DST proposal raises eyebrows

Vehicles at EDSA
Vehicles along the EDSA in this undated photo from the Philippine News Agency. (PNA/Joey Razon)

Suggestions were made after the Manila Metro Development Authority reportedly said he was eventually considering implementing Daylight Saving Time (DST) to reduce traffic congestion in the subway.

This daylight saving time proposal came amid the heavy traffic seen in the National Capital Region below COVID-19 Alert Level 1, where movement restrictions are more relaxed.

President of the MMDA Romando Artes reportedly said daylight saving time was among the recommendations received by the government agency to combat congestion on the roads.

“Baka daw po puwede na ang pasok in gobyerno and ‘yung mga transaksiyon to gobyerno is simulan 7 o’clock at mag-end ng 4 o’clock,” Artes was quoted in GMA’s “Unang Balita” on Friday.

“‘Yan pong is an oras na fit na iyan sa pasok po sa gobyerno is malaking bagay dahil hindi lamang ang pumapasok sa trabaho sa gobyerno ang apektado niyan, kundi pati na rin po ‘yung mga may transaksiyon sa gobyerno,” he added .

Artes said the MMDA will consider the proposal.

The report said that based on agency data, 405,000 vehicles passed through the EDSA daily before the pandemic.

Prior to the recent oil price hikes, the number was 390,000. It dropped to 370,000 when the price of petroleum products rose.

What is summer time?

Daylight saving time is defined by timeanddate.com as “the practice of setting clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back in the fall, in order to better use natural daylight”.

This is because the days begin to get longer as the season shifts from winter to spring to summer, when the Earth’s axis is tilted directly towards the sun.

During this season, those who practice daylight saving time maximize daylight hours.

“The logic is that by jumping forward and falling back, people add an hour of sunshine to the end of the workday,” reads an article from National Geographic.

Daylight saving time is also implemented to reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial light during the evening hours.

It is commonly implemented in northern hemisphere countries such as the United States and those in Europe.

Those in the southern hemisphere also apply it, such as parts of Australia and New Zealand.

Countries with equatorial and tropical climates generally do not apply it because the daylight hours in this zone are similar in each season.

Those who live farther from the equator, on the other hand, experience longer daylight hours during the summer, hence the practice of daylight saving time.

Summer time to solve the traffic?

DST’s proposal to tackle traffic congestion did not amuse some Filipinos who instead called for implementing work from home.

“It’s not a solution lol, it just pushes traffic to a different time slot. Mandatory WFH (work from home) rotation for offices is a better solution (band-aid) IMO (in my opinion) “, a twitter user said in response to MMDA.

“Lol man, just let people work from home and remove that mandatory back-to-office setup. If we can do our job at home, let’s give the road to those who really need it”, another online user noted.

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A 2014 report from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the country is expected to lose 3.5 billion pesos a day due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Without new transportation infrastructure, the loss may reach 5.4 billion pesos per day by 2035, according to the JICA Chief Representative in the Philippines.

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Others suggested that the state of public transport and commuting should instead be improved.

“But what does summer time REACH even???? Just delaying the inevitable, pls. hindi talaga uusad hangga’t ‘di pinapaunlad mass transport (and) urban development,” a twitter user commented.

“How about they fix the commuting system here in the country instead?” another one online user noted.

“Sana ini-improve na lang nila mga trains and buses (plus) bike lanes”, a different Filipino tweeted.

“Fix mass public (transport) and encourage environmentally friendly transport like bicycles”, another online user noted.

The government recently announced the completion of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Rehabilitation Project which started in 2019 with assistance from the Japanese government.

According to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, passengers facing unloading incidents on the railway would be a thing of the past.

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