The City government has admitted it is not yet prepared to implement a national policy banning tricycles from the national highways, stating there is no alternative transport facility yet that can replace them.
Councilor Rolando Amurao said there is not enough public utility vehicles (PUVs) on the national roads that can fill in the gap that will be created with the removal of some 7,000 tricycles crowding the highways at any given time.
Critics have pointed to the dominance of tricycles on the main roads of the city as one of the major causes of traffic deterioration, apart from their perceived general lack of discipline and adherence to traffic rules.
“Someone asked recently why we’re not yet removing tricycles from major roads and national highways, is it because the city government’s afraid because of the votes that will be lost? But Mayor (Lucilo) Bayron said, no, it’s not due to that but due to the fact that we still lack PUVs. The multi-cabs are not enough to service residents of the city if tricycles are removed,” Amurao said.
Amurao, who also chairs the Council’s transport committee, added however that “eventually”, the tricycles will be removed from the highways.
“I told them to accept the truth that they will be removed from the major roads. Eventually, they will be removed because there is a national law that prohibits them from the national highways,” he stated.
City records also showed there are some 2,200 unlicensed or “colorum” public land transports that are given special permits to convey passengers in specific areas in Puerto Princesa.
Amurao assured the public that the city government is not stopping in coming up with solutions to alleviate the growing traffic problem in the city.
He said that recently, the City Council passed an ordinance that will start the segregation of public and private vehicles plying key thoroughfares here.
“Recently, we approved the local law on the segregation of public utility vehicles from the private vehicles on our roads. All public utility vehicles will have to drive only on the right side of the road,” he said.
He said he also filed a measure that would strictly prohibit left side parking on any street and highway here.
Amurao said as a general rule, parking on the road is forbidden under Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines and even in other city traffic laws.
However, in Puerto Princesa, everyone parks indiscriminately to the detriment of smooth traffic flow.
“Improper parking of vehicles is aggravated further by left side parking, which is risky and hazardous to other motorists,” he explained, adding his proposed ordinance will cover all streets and highways.
He said the measure does not mean that right side parking will be allowed, especially in “no parking” zones or designated street areas.
“Left side parking directly faces traffic flow; it’s a no- no,” Amurao said.
Amurao also disclosed that members of the City Council are discussing the possibility of a four-lane skyway because of the traffic that is being generated by the newly-constructed Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA) and the soon-to-open SM Mall along Malvar Street.
“Yes, we are discussing it. But no tangible plans yet,” Amurao said.