‘Ginawang parking ang España’: Thomasians, commuters express USTET traffic woes

By Kaela Patricia Gabriel

(Photo by Kenneth Cedric Landazabal/TomasinoWeb)

Some Thomasians and commuters took their traffic woes to social media following congestion around the University due to parked cars occupying two lanes along España Boulevard on Sunday, Jan. 22.

The Office for Admissions placed posters of traffic advisory within the vicinity of UST for the final batch of the University of Santo Tomas Entrance Test (USTET). The Santisimo Rosario Parish, through their Facebook page, also alerted their Parishioners last Saturday regarding the expected heavy traffic amid the USTET.

In a public Facebook group How’s your byahe, bes?, a netizen shared clips and photos which showed cars parked beside UST’s sidewalk, which resulted in slow moving traffic at the boulevard.

“Heavy traffic papuntang Quiapo ngayon dahil sa USTET. Ginawang parking area ‘yung España,” Lester Babiera said in the post.

Babiera also took to Twitter to share the same videos and photos with a different caption. As of writing, the tweet had garnered a total of 144k views, 801 likes, 86 retweets, and 175 quote tweets.

“Perwisyo. Ang tindi ng traffic sa España gawa ng mga naka-park na sasakyan dahil sa USTET. Tatlong lanes ang practically blocked dahil hinihintay ang mga nag-take ng test,” Babiera wrote in a tweet.

An USTET taker from Mandaluyong, Jennylou Canon, shared that she struggled commuting to and from UST due to the heavy volume of private vehicles on her examination day last Sunday.

“Mas mahirap mag-commute kaysa actual USTET […] From Quiapo Church nag-taxi kami, nandito ang tunay na struggles. Hindi na kami bumaba sa mismong Dapitan street. Nilakad na lang namin tapos halatang-halata talaga na due to congestion, naglalakad na lang ‘yung mga examinee with their companions,” Canon told TomasinoWeb.

Canon said she also experienced difficulties commuting on her way home due to lack of public transportation vehicles from the University.

“Mas mahirap umuwi kaysa pumunta… In front of UST sa may España, nandoon talaga ‘yung mga cars tapos parang two lanes yata. Gate 5 kasi kami lumabas, pero kita mo may naka-park pang kotse doon tapos walang masakyan na public transpo,” Canon said.

According to Lords Hernandez, the University’s Security Supervisor, they have coordinated with the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau to manage the area.

“Every USTET naman coordinated naman [with MTPB], but the big volume of vehicles within the same time really aggravated the traffic situation,” Hernandez told TomasinoWeb.

According to Hernandez, 10,695 students took the entrance test for the morning shift while there were 5,136 examinees for the afternoon batch of which a total of 31 USTET takers exhibited COVID-19 symptoms but were eventually cleared to take the exams.

The examination held last Sunday is the fourth and last batch of the USTET for academic year 2023–2024.

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