Traffic > Appraisal

Dear motorists, beware of this ticket trap in Makati

Have you encountered this ‘traffic management’ tactic?

Be careful and aware when crossing. It’s a trap. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Driving around Metro Manila can be really stressful at times, but what makes it extra bad is when the odds seem to be stacked against you on purpose. Let us explain what we mean by warning you of a junction in Makati that seems to be a ticket trap. We’re talking about the crossing of Gil Puyat and Bautista when you drive toward Roxas Boulevard. Two of our editorial team members passed through the area yesterday on the way to the 2018 Philippine International Motor Show and noticed that the traffic light at this particular junction was malfunctioning. According to our colleagues, only the red signal was working on the main light—yellow and green were busted. Signals for the other roads were also malfunctioning, they added.

One of our team members was pulled over by Makati traffic enforcers lying in wait a few meters after the junction. They accused her of running a red light. She quickly but politely contested the accusation, saying that the lights were not working properly. When the enforcers learned that they were talking to a Makati resident, they let her go. The second team member didn’t get pulled over, but saw a number of cars being stopped by a whole group of traffic marshals. He managed to catch the scene on video. Watch:

To make sure we report this accurately, we headed to the junction of Gil Puyat and Bautista in Makati this morning, camera in hand. We were hoping that the lights had already been fixed, but no such luck. The whole light setup at said crossroads was truly busted. Yellow and green on the main signal going toward Roxas Boulevard weren’t working, meaning drivers couldn’t tell when the red light would come on until it was too late, leaving them on the hook for a ticket. Lights for the side roads were also not working correctly, with some completely out of order and others lighting up out of sync.

Darling, you gotta let them know: Should they stay or should they go? PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

The worst thing, however, was that there were indeed Makati traffic enforcers lying in wait just after the junction, and this really made our blood boil. The traffic signals at this crossing were clearly malfunctioning, which not only led some people to unwittingly go through on red, but also caused others to block the road. Instead of regulating traffic manually—which would make sense if the lights were defective—and actually helping motorists, the enforcers chose to station themselves further down the road so they could catch “erring” drivers and issue what were clearly questionable tickets. This kind of thing is exactly what’s wrong with this city. Makati is supposed to be the shining business center of the Philippines, yet it seemingly hasn’t managed to move past highway robbery.

These traffic marshals probably look at cars and see cruising cash registers. Ka-ching! PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Dear Makati traffic management: If you get to read this, then we hope you agree that this is unacceptable. If the lights are broken, fix them. If that takes longer, use your staff to help motorists, not set them up like this. Let’s try and work together here, not against each other.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.