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I haven’t been spending a lot of time at the Lacson “tourism strip” area of late, because aside from the pandemic turning me into an antisocial monk, I found the traffic experiment that was supposed to designate one-way streets and parking areas a bit confusing to digest so I figured that not being there was the best way to avoid any potential hassles.

While choosing to avoid it during the experimentation stage which is usually the messiest part, I was actually rooting for that traffic experiment to be successful because I agreed with the concept that made a lot of sense. Designating streets as one way and allowing parking on only one side of those roads should put a lot of order into the chaos of our streets. It will be inconvenient for some, especially those who live and work there, but if a workable system comes out of it, the benefits for the many should far outweigh the cost for the few.

During the few times I was at the area, it looked like the city officials responsible for it were trying, but as usual, it was half-baked and haphazard. Sometimes a street had a one-way barrier, sometimes it didn’t. As for parking, which was supposed to be limited to one side of the one way streets, well let’s just say I didn’t see any evidence of that at all. Anyway, after a couple of disappointing months on that regard, a wheel clamping and towing effort was actually started for illegal parking, so I thought that was a part of a comprehensive effort to make the experiment work.

I was already starting to imagine how beautiful it could be, if a sense of order and discipline were established in that part of the city, so we could see what could happen and be encouraged to participate in a wider effort. A traffic experiment creating one way streets, cracking down on illegal parking through clamping and towing, and hopefully a strict ban on U-turns along the main thoroughfare would be a great way to see how order, discipline, and a system is all we need in a city that has one of the most efficiently beautiful road network layout.

The general idea was established, and so were the penalties to encourage compliance. All it needed were proper enforcement, along with signage that would inform the public of the what, where, when and hows. With easily visible and understood one-way and parking signage, along with the political will and determination of the traffic authority, there was a good chance that the experiment would give us a better idea of how things can work better.

Well… surprise, surprise.

After all the brouhaha, it now looks like the traffic experiment is over. Maybe it’s on a Christmas break, but the one-way system seems to have disappeared, along with the attempt to organize parking of course.

All that is left is a tire clamping and towing bonanza against illegal parking, which is kind of frustrating because there seem to be no signs saying which parts of the city’s streets are ok and not ok to park in. Is everywhere an illegal parking zone? I wouldn’t mind if it were declared as such, because that is one way to do it, but if that is the case, then why are only some vehicles being targeted for towing and clamping while others are not? Doesn’t that lack of a system or prior notice make kotong-ing easier to pull off?

I’m hoping that my observation is wrong, and that the traffic experiment is not just still a go, but will be supported, done properly, and seen to whatever its conclusion may be. It’s already been started, they might as well finish it so they can say with certainty whether such a system is feasible or not, and whether it should be marked as a failure, or regarded as a success that can be replicated throughout a bigger area of the city.

PROMO FOMO

At that fancy new membership store in eastern Bacolod, they have a promo where a purchase worth over P3,000 earns a voucher that supposedly gives a sizable discount at the gasoline station within their grounds.

Well, the other day I went there to gas up, excited to partake of the discount, when the gas boy told me that even though I had a voucher, I still needed to show a membership card in order to get discounted gas.

I don’t have a card because my wife already has one and I don’t see any sense in spending membership fees x2 in my family.

Although the kindly gas boy who was just following the rules told me I can go into the store and have my voucher verified, at that point I was already disappointed and it was too much of a hassle for me to do that so I told him never mind.

I had a voucher because we purchased the qualified amount worth of goods using a legit membership status. Now it turns out I need to get my own membership card or put my wife in my wallet every time I try to redeem their gas discount voucher.

It was disingenuous, but hey, it’s their gasoline station, their promo, their rules. I’m just sharing my experience so you guys in the same situation don’t have to go through the same hassle.

Anyway, I just went to the nearest Caltex to get my full tank, where the pump price is around P2 per liter lower than theirs, which is another disingenuous thing about their promo. Yes, there are still savings to be made if the voucher is applied, but since their pump price is higher, the promo price isn’t as big as it seems.

FYI lang ah.*

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