There’s a pending bill seeking to impose higher fees for anyone who buys a second car. By discouraging people from buying a second/third car, the rationale for this move says, there will be lesser vehicles clogging our highways.
There’s something not right with this bill, I thought, but I chose to let go of the topic. Then this morning, as I noticed three blue-uniformed MMDA personnel standing at the edge of a roundabout, waiting for/apprehending number-coding violators — while enjoying a full view of jeepneys, buses and pedestrians clogging three of the six lanes of a major highway.
There should be a violation when PUVs stop/load in the middle of the road, three lanes into the middle. There should be a violation for loading passengers away from designated bus/jeepney stops. There could have been hundreds of jaywalking arrests.
Why focus on the number-coding scheme and not the jaywalkers and bus/jeepney stop violators?
It’s easier to apprehend a number-coding violation. You only need one traffic enforcer to do the work. It can even be done with the no-contact policy. Try sending one traffic enforcer to arrest hundreds of jaywalkers and see if he/she can get out unscathed. Try doing that to buses which are bent on crushing (pun intended) the competition.
Drivers with number-coding tickets must pay the fines before they can renew their licenses. Jaywalkers don’t have the same need.
It’s easier to raise the fees for anyone who seeks to buy a second car. On the other hand, it’s political suicide to file a bill that seeks to limit the lifespan of old cars on the road. It’s almost impossible to limit the sales of car manufacturers/dealers which naturally seek to exceed last year’s total unit sales. It’s easier to slow down everyone to an unreasonable limit of 60kph (or less) because traffic enforcers can’t control buses.
You also earn when you raise the fees for second cars; you spend extra if you seek to strictly enforce existing traffic laws. Why is it very difficult, almost impossible, to enforce traffic rules? Considering that traffic rules are basic, imagine how harder it is to enforce other laws, like plunder, perhaps?
Collecting fees for the purchase of second cars is much easier, yes. And it’s going to generate money for the government. But it will NOT solve the traffic problem. Not a bit. Let’s not kid ourselves. An efficient mass transport system (let’s please have that sooner) has way greater positive effect on alleviating traffic congestion than raising the fees for second cars.