Almendras proposes truck booking system to ease traffic

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Under the terminal appointment and booking system (TABS), the surge of registered container trucks throughout the day could be controlled, as pick-ups and drop-offs of containers are scheduled by time slots.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — With the large volume of vehicles on EDSA and the implementation of a truck ban on Tuesday (September 15), the government will soon allow brokers to register trucks that can be exempted from the ban.

Related: Provincial buses no longer allowed on EDSA underpasses

Cabinet Secretary Jose Almendras said a terminal appointment and booking system (TABS) will be implemented — a scheme aimed at easing road congestion.

"I know that some people are worried na tinanggal yung isang 24-hour lane going south. When the TABS is implemented, even during peak hours, some trucks will be allowed to travel so long as they're registered in the system," Almendras explained.

He added that a test run was already done and that the TABS would be applicable to the southbound route.

"We're monitoring the movements. We're really a lot more efficient now. The TAB system will even make it more efficient kasi kung ikaw yung importer, yung container mo nasa barko pa lang basta may container number ka you can see it in the system," Almendras said.

Related: Almendras on provincial bus reroute plan: C5 can handle it

"The system will tag the truck, both RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and plate number so we will know whether the truck is authorized to run at this time or not. So effectively nawala na yung truck ban but only for those trucks that are registered in the TABS system."

According to Almendras, the TABS would be flexible in allowing container trucks to drive through service roads depending on the time, day, and destination. Through this, it would control the surge of trucks throughout the day because pick-ups and drop-offs of containers were to be scheduled by time slots.

Related: Day 1 on EDSA: Malacañan grades HPG 'generally satisfactory'

"All the trucks that go to the port can register. There's no limit to it. It's the brokers ang pumipili kung sino yung trucking company na kukunin nila," he added.

At the Senate inquiry on Monday (September 14) on the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila, Almendras said that the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) was driving the project.

Vehicle volume as cause of traffic

During the Senate inquiry, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino attributed the heavy traffic to vehicle volume.

With this, Tolentino cited the need to speed up the required infrastructure. In particular, the three major ongoing construction projects meant to ease the traffic: NAIA Expressway, Skyway 3, and the plan to relocate the Philippine National Railways platform in Osmeña.

Eduardo Yap, chairman of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), also presented some recommendations from a study that the group conducted.

Among the recommendations included were re-engineering EDSA and the redesigning of some major roads into expressways.

"We do not need a lot of traffic enforcers if we have good road engineering," Yap said.