Manila to equip waiting sheds with free Wi-Fi
The city of Manila is poised for a dash of aesthetic lift as it embarks on another ambitious project: Wi-Fi equipped waiting sheds to accommodate the tribe of commuters who rely on the internet to ease boredom waiting for their rides.
In a couple of weeks, 12 innovative waiting sheds will be seen in strategic areas in the city as officials continue to employ various ideas in giving the city a new image, first by solving its horrendous traffic that has long plagued commuters.
Previously, the city reaped criticisms from commuters and bus operators who resisted a local policy that prohibited the entry of buses without existing terminals in the city. Officials later set the policy into an ordinance and bus companies have since filed for a Temporary Restraining Order against the new law.
Additional bus stops or loading and unloading areas have also been approved by the city council after it amended the city’s traffic code to accommodate the policy on buses.
“At the end of the day, we are answerable to you,” Vice Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso said referring to Manila residents whose expectations are divided as far as the new projects are concerned.
“The question is the sustainability of the project. Will it go on for a long time or is it here because they are just starting their term?” Darby, 23, a commuter said.
“Let’s see how far it will go,” Tondo resident Cynthia said.
Aside from equipping the sheds with wifi, CCTV cameras will also be installed in them to thwart crime and monitor incidents occurring in and around the cutting-edge waiting areas.
The project is in partnership with a private consortium under a public private partnership agreement.
Domagoso, who is also chief of the Manila Traffic Council, earlier headed the installation of surveillance cameras in the following traffic-heavy areas: A. Villegas Street, perimeter of SM Manila, Plaza Lawton, Lawton Underpass, Ferry terminal, Jones Bridge, Manila Post Office, Quiapo bridge and Almeda street.
“I can operate the cameras using my cellphone,” Domagoso boasted as he showed a mobile application made especially for the traffic czar.
The app, however, is not accessible to the public but Domagoso said access can be given to institutions interested in seeing the situation of the city especially during calamities.
When tropical storm ‘Maring’ wrought havoc in many areas in NCR in the last week of August, Domagoso was posting real-time shots of flooded streets in his social media accounts courtesy of the high-powered cameras.
“If we have cameras, public can have information in a given incident by accessing social media. This is the fastest way we can give information,” Domagoso said.
Manila will also install more street cameras in that will be dedicated to documenting traffic violations to efficiently collect penalties from erring drivers. The cameras will be equipped with motion sensors that will focus on movements inside the so-called yellow box between the four intersections in the streets.
“Any deviation from the yellow box will be recorded and the camera will focus on the vehicles’s plate number. Information will be stored in our database in our command center. We will coordinate with the Land Transportation Office to get the details of the owner of the vehicle,” Councilor Manuel Zarcal explained.
Zarcal, whose office is preparing the draft for the proposed ordinance for the use of the traffic cameras, also confirmed that the procurement and installation of the cameras will also be done under PPP. He said the private company pitched for a share of the profits that will be made through the penalties that will be paid by traffic violators.
On the other hand, Mayor Joseph Estrada is set to sign a memorandum of agreement with a Korean company who are donating solar-powered LED streetlights for the city of Manila today.
But Domagoso admits it may take a long while before they are able to solve Manila’s ‘perennial and accumulated problems’.
The former actor promised that nothing would deter Manila’s officials in attending to these problems, not even death threats.
Domagoso showed a text message from Manila Police District Traffic Enforcement Unit head PC/I Olivia Sagaysay warning him against going out on the streets last September 1.
Since the bus ban, Domagoso has been personally going around the streets of Manila to assist the traffic police in apprehending violators of the traffic code.
“Good Luck,” Domagoso said. “That is the price we have to pay,” he added.