Mascots eyed to man traffic-A A +A
Sunday, September 8, 2013
CEBU -- The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) is eyeing for mascots like Ronald McDonald and Jollibee to help improve the traffic in the city.
Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap said the board has decided to train food store mascots in traffic enforcement.
“Kulang mi’g tao (We lack traffic enforcers),” Yap joked when asked what the aim of the project is.
He said the board wants only to highlight the importance of traffic management.
Traffic congestion remains a major concern in Cebu City and Citom has been pushing for a mass transit system in the form of a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system. Yap is not convinced with the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) as Cebu City’s massive transport system.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he has not given up on the BRT system and will continue to seek a dialogue with Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Andaya; however, he said he will consider the AGT, because he learned that some Cabinet members are not keen on the idea of the BRT.
He said President Benigno Aquino III first advised him to push for a Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the city in 2010.
“There are secretaries against the BRT so it may be difficult to pursue. Here comes the President who himself tried the AGT,” Rama said.
Rama was referring to the AGT prototype of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that Aquino rode during its launching last April at the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman, where the President noted that it was a “bumbpy” ride.
Rama said that in Cebu City, if the AGT will be constructed, it would not be on an elevated platform unlike the prototype.
“I haven’t been given a total briefing on the AGT but I saw it in the papers and it is above grade, which is exactly the reason the LRT is not favorable to the Cebu City Government,” Yap said.
The Cebu City Government said that the LRT will destroy Cebu City’s skyline, because it is on an elevated platform.
“We will have the same rails but it will be on the ground... I’m considering this as an alternative because of the feasibility. We like the BRT but we don’t have the support of the National Government and there are cabinet secretaries who are not in favor of the BRT,” Rama said.
Rama also said there is difficulty in pursuing the BRT system.
Yap said the DOTC is prepared to defend the BRT in the next National Economic Development Authority (Neda) board meeting.
He said if the city pushes for the AGT, it will mean going back to zero, adding that Citom wants the system studied before a shift in policy.
Yap said he had other technical concerns like whether the AGT can do turns in intersections and rotundas.
When asked if the mascots would not cause more traffic because motorists would be curious and entertained by the mascots, he said the experiment stage would be at junctions that are not so problematic when it comes to traffic.
He said one place the Citom board has identified where the mascots can be traffic enforcers is on Arlington Pond, where Jollibee and McDonald’s outlets stand across each other.
Architect Andre Bordon does not believe that having mascots as traffic enforcers would actually have an effect on the traffic situation of the City.
“Fun, yes. Traffic improvement? Not much,” said Bordon, who has been driving in Cebu City streets for almost two decades.
“If this is a one-time thing, then it’s a nice idea. But if it’s done every day then we lose the novelty. Either way, it won’t improve traffic flow and motorists’ behavior,” Bordon told Sun.Star Cebu when told of the proposal.
Mascots may be popular among kids but when it comes to adults and traffic concerns, not so popular.
Former board member Jose Ma. Gastardo is not keen on the idea of using mascots for traffic management.
“Is there a need to use mascots? They would be more of a distraction rather than aid in solving traffic. Why don’t the authorities deputize the barangay tanods, boy scouts and college students in relation to their CWTS (Citizens’ Welfare Training Service) course?” Gastardo said.
“It’s a travesty. Dancing policemen are okay because it actually shows a human side. But how do you respect a giant bee?” said Alvin Dy, another motorist.
Gastardo and Dy also said it would be a marketing incentive for the food stores.
“How can these mascots enforce traffic rules when the people behind them would rather get through the day as quickly as they can? Mascot costumes are really hot and heavy,” Dy said. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 08, 2013.