By Joe Zaldarriaga

Reinforcing public trust via MMDA single ticketing system

Having an effective transportation system is essential for any society's economic, social and cultural development. A reliable transportation system enables people to commute to work, access essential services and engage in social and cultural activities. Hence, it is closely linked to the productivity of the citizenry.

Admittedly, a lot can still be done to improve Philippines’ transportation system. The government, through its program ‘Build Better More’, has been aggressively ramping up various infrastructure projects with the help of the members of the private sector, picking up from where the previous administration left off. Aside from this, refining existing transportation systems by using new technologies that will provide the much-needed system interconnectivity can also have a significant impact on ensuring efficiency and ultimately gaining public trust.

The forthcoming implementation of Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) single ticketing system in Metro Manila this coming May is surely another step closer to bettering our transportation system. However, this new system can only truly be considered effective if it enjoys the public’s trust and confidence as these serve as key to getting the citizenry to support and appreciate the system rather than just plainly complying to something imposed by the government.

It can be recalled that early this year, the MMDA successfully secured approval of the Metro Manila Council to implement the Metro Manila Traffic Code of 2023 paving the way for the adoption of the single ticketing system in the capital region.

The new system is expected to harmonize national and local road rules and standardize the procedures of apprehension, payment of fines, redemption of licenses and plates and other existing practices that motorists often find confusing.

Listed in the system are the common violations and its corresponding fines and penalties which will be uniformly imposed by all the local government units within Metro Manila. These include disregarding traffic signs, illegal parking whether attended or unattended, number coding scheme, truck ban, light truck ban, reckless driving, unregistered motor vehicle, driving without license, tricycle ban, obstruction, motorcycle dress code, unauthorized modification, arrogance and discourteous conduct, loading and unloading in prohibited places, illegal counterflow and overspeeding.

On the other hand, heftier penalties await motorists who will violate special laws such as child safety on motor vehicles, mandatory use of helmets, anti-distracted driving, and anti-drunk and drugged driving. This, for me, is really significant as this will push motorists to really err on the side of caution, as they should be, while on the road.

While I strongly believe that penalties and fines should naturally be heavy and troublesome for violators, it is still important to make sure that their productivity is not impeded. The current lack of order in imposing penalties often results in violators trying to bribe traffic enforcers and buy their way out to avoid the hassle of retrieving their confiscated license, settling fines and dealing with the local government where the violation was committed.

Through the single ticketing system, bribery and corruption will at least be minimized if not eliminated since it is also expected to be a more transparent and accountable payment system. According to MMDA, the adoption of the single ticketing system will also strengthen the implementation of the no contact apprehension policy (NCAP).

While the changes that will come out from the roll out of this new system are yet to be seen, I believe that these will be instrumental in improving safety, efficiency, fairness, transparency, and accountability -- all of which will help in reinforcing public trust.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.