Baguio City

Are you willing to pay P250 just to enter Baguio’s Session Road?

Frank Cimatu

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Are you willing to pay P250 just to enter Baguio’s Session Road?

SUMMER CAPITAL. File photo of Session Road in Baguio City.

Mau Victa/Rappler

The proposed congestion fee aims to reduce traffic in the country's summer capital. Baguio City locals will be qualified for rebates.

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – A company aiming to fix Baguio City’s traffic problem is proposing a congestion fee of P250 or more for motorists every time they enter Session Road, the city’s central business district.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), a company under the Manny Pangilinan group of companies, is the main proponent of the P2.5-billion Baguio City Smart Urban Mobility Project, a Public Private Partnership initiative seen to reduce traffic in the country’s summer capital through congestion charges and other transport technology solutions.

MPTC said that a similar congestion fee is already imposed in Singapore, London, Stockholm, and Milan to decongest the traffic in these major cities. New York planned to do a similar scheme, but the local government opted to halt implementation amid the US elections.

MPTC’s innovation arm, MPT Mobility, has the capabilities to provide cities with transportation management systems, including peak-hour congestion pricing solutions, area monitoring and enforcement capabilities, and fleet management.

The proposal said that public transportation, particularly jeepneys, will be exempted from paying the congestion fee. A recent ordinance also exempted vehicles driven by senior citizens and persons with disability, uniformed personnel on active duty, and emergency response vehicles.

Taxis will have a discounted congestion fee rate as well as government vehicles with approved travel order. Vehicles by Baguio residents will be qualified for rebates as proposed.

The MPTC proposes a “holistic approach to solving not only traffic but improving overall mobility” specifically the integration of city services to mobility applications; mobility fee or congestion fee charging; transport service platform; smart traffic command center; smart parking facilities; and, traffic enforcement.

Past suggestions included “Walk, Baguio, Walk” which encouraged tourists to leave their cars and use public transportation. Another proposal called for a large terminal in Tuba, Benguet for tourists to leave their cars and buses to bring them to Baguio.  –

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