by Alan Robles
As part of our continuing commitment to public service, we offer this new series on understanding Metro Manila's traffic problem. We begin with this general Q&A on the topic.
Q: How bad is Manila's traffic?
A: Our researchers estimate that if, at 7:30 a.m., they were to board a bus going from Quezon City to Makati...
A: Sorry, our researchers are unable to complete the sentence, they're still stuck in traffic. Check back with us in two days.
Q: Why is Manila's traffic so bad?
A: The explanation involves a complex interplay of factors such as vehicles, commuters, pedestrians, drivers and enforcers.
Q: What is the simple explanation?
A: All the factors are trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
Q: What's being done about this problem?
A: Government officials have studied the problem intensively.
A: They've arrived at the conclusion that government officials should ride chauffeur-driven luxury cars, preferably with police escorts.
Q: What about the rest of the commuters?
A: What about them?
Q: Why is it that most of the time traffic is slow, but sometimes it's suddenly very fast, and there's no predicting this?
A: Government planners are aware of this and are working hard to make sure everybody in the city moves at the same slow pace everyday.
Q: How can the traffic problem be effectively solved?
A: By looking at Mass Transportation.
Q: Why is it called Mass Transportation?
A: Because it's advisable to go to Mass before you take the Transportation.
A: It's good preparation for moments such as when your bus hurtles off the elevated Skyway.
Q: What's being done about the proliferation of dangerous public buses?
A: Special enforcers have been especially assigned to go to the public bus owners, wave their fingers and tell them "you've been naughty boys."
Q: What are the most notorious bus lines we should watch out for?
A: There's the Antipinoy Racketeers Transport Inc., the GRP Rotten Dogs Transit, and the Showbiz Govt Trollparol Rabid Mutant Motors Inc.
Q: You are making those names up, right?
A: Sorry, our answer has been delayed in traffic.
Q: How safe are Manila's streets for bicyclists?
A: Perfectly safe, provided they ride their bikes while inside a tank.
Q: I'm teaching my pet gorilla to ride a motorcycle. Is this allowed?
A: Provided he's 18 years old, has a license and wears a helmet with the motorcycle's registration number -- we see no problem.
Q: What if an accomplice and I plan to rob somebody while riding a bike?
A: Always remember that according to the law, your accomplice must be a close relative. We suggest your mother-in-law.