James Deakin is not your ordinary automotive journalist.
Personally, he is the only car enthusiast I know, who can probably help alleviate the prevalent road issues in the Philippines
I know y’all would agree that he demonstrates the characteristics of a true leader: charismatic, compassionate, and committed to better our transportation system. Significantly, we consider him as THE voice of all Filipino motorists.
With his vast knowledge in the automotive industry, he could be a vital member of the government, don’t you think?
So, WhenInManila.com asked James Deakin a pivotal question:
“What would you do to fix traffic if you were President for a day?”
Thankfully, James and his supportive Managing Editor Sabina accepted our request.
So, in no particular order, here are the answers:
1. Enforce all current laws before introducing any new ones. Start holding the LGUs responsible for illegally parked cars and obstructions instead of the drivers and the illegal sidewalk vendors. Impose massive penalties and sanctions on the officials until they toe the line. There’s really no point discussing anything else until this is addressed.
2. Introduce a new international standard of testing for licenses and have mandatory retesting for all current driver’s licenses. This can happen just once for the next 5 years to make sure everyone has been re tested according to international standards. I would also raise the price of licenses to at least 10,000 pesos. This fee could be reduced by half or more if they get perfect scores on both written and practical tests so as to make it easier for our professional drivers.
3. Make comprehensive insurance mandatory. Nobody should be allowed to drive without being covered. No exceptions.
4. Make dashcams mandatory on all cars. Then set up a centralized enforcement agency that did nothing else but review these videos submitted by motorists and start prosecuting people who are caught counter flowing, running red lights, blocking disabled ramps etc. Fines would be increased dramatically. Especially for the blatant ones like using a wang wang or dangerous driving. I would offer 50% discounts though, to those who went into a video booth and made a public apology for being an idiot though.
5. Legalize Uber and Grab, but make it only for private owners and NO fleets. I’d also have a 3 month waiting period for enrollments for all new car purchases, simply to avoid people buying a new car with the sole purpose of ride sharing. I would also incentivize other ride sharing apps that encouraged car-pooling.
6. Make all license plates RFID readable. Aside from law enforcement purposes, this will allow us to capture valuable traffic data and give us the opportunity to study volume in real time and charge congestion charges and/or trip scheduling.
7. Build more walkways, pedestrian bridges, and bike lanes. Make cities greener and more walkable.
8. Decongest Manila and Cebu by creating new world class cities in places like Clark/Bulacan/Laguna and surrounding areas. Build the subways and monorails and BRTs as early as now, and future proof it.
9. Invest in infrastructure. Set a minimum Internet speed target for telcos and encourage companies and schools to allow telecommuting, even if it’s only for half the week.
10. Revive the PNR. Make it a combination of train and BRT-type system for trucks. The current right of way is wide enough already. We just need to reclaim it.
Sir James, your insights would really help alleviate the horrendous traffic in Manila.
You’d be a fundamental member of these agencies: Department of Transportation, LTFRB, MMDA, and especially, LTO.
I just hope, with or without James, people will really follow even the easiest rule ever implemented: fix your brake lights!
Do you agree with the above-mentioned answers? Let us know by commenting below!