Seeing as our traffic-management authorities are already extremely desperate after the MMDA has entertained a proposal for a car brand-based coding scheme for EDSA, it seems like the perfect time to open the floodgates and throw any and all ideas into the ring when it comes to taming the daily metal avalanche that clogs the megalopolis’s main artery. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you three more radical ideas on how to decongest Metro Manila’s most prominent roadway.
1. Profession-based coding. Quite a few people—for reasons that escape us—like to attach commemorative plates to their cars apparently displaying their occupation. You’ve probably seen them driving around: Lawyer, Prosecutor, Doctor or some such thing. So, let’s get everyone to do that and base the coding scheme on the job they’re doing.
- Doctors, firemen, nurses and others who work for the benefit of society can drive every day without restrictions as we want them to enjoy their lives and be ready when we need them.
- Bank employees can only drive between 9am and 3pm, which is the cutoff time for daily driving transactions. They also have to first get a ticket number from a machine and queue for at least 20 minutes before being told by someone behind a counter at the side of the road that they can proceed to EDSA. There will be 10 such counters at every on-ramp, but no more than two will ever be open at the same time.
- Lawyers can drive every day but will be given a legal document that is worded in such a complicated and old-fashioned way—with countless words that no normal human being would ever use—that they won’t be able to work out what they are and aren’t allowed to do. They will also be charged a large sum for the pleasure.
- Politicians will be given VIP status, and they can prance around EDSA as much as they want. Just kidding. We will finally do what should have been done a long time ago: Force all politicians to use public transport. Anyone caught cheating will have his or her car confiscated and handed over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines for target practice.
2. Pay lanes. The odds in this city are already stacked in favor of the rich, so let’s just be honest about the status quo and make some money out of it. The yellow lanes stay where they are, but the remaining three lanes are turned into pay lanes with different pricing. Lane 3 is for the average Joe and costs P10/km to use, regardless of how many passengers are in the car. Lane 2 is for wealthier people and those who want to be seen as such, and the fee for using it is P100/km. Lane 1 is for VVVIPs and charges P1,000/km. That may sound much, but remember that this is a country where many entitled motorists are able to pay police escorts just to part the traffic for them. The proceeds of this scheme will be spent on building more walkways and bicycle paths for those who suddenly can’t afford to drive anymore.
3. EDSA lottery. Let’s abandon all sensible ideas completely and simply turn commuting into a sweepstake game, because let’s face it: That’s what it already is for most people anyway. The scheme works like this: All car and bus owners must register their plate number with the newly formed EDSA Lotto Authority. Every night, the lottery operator draws, say, 20,000 plate numbers out of the pool and sends a notification to the winners. If your plate number is drawn, you’re allowed to drive on EDSA the next day, with no limitations as to how many times or where you’re going. If your plate number isn’t drawn, tough luck—your car remains in the garage. Better luck next time.