Baguio mulls centralized parking for weekend tourists, use of hop on-hop off bus service

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THE BAGUIO City government is looking into the revival of hop on-hop off bus services and requiring weekend tourists to park their private vehicles at the Baguio Convention Center to lessen road congestion in the popular mountain destination.   

“In just one day, we may have an accumulated tourists of 30,000 in a day during peak season and this will really cause traffic all over the city, particularly along Botanical Garden and Mines View Park,” City Tourism Office Supervising Administrative Officer Aloysius C. Mapalo said in a press release from the local government on Wednesday.   

Citing data from the portal visita.baguio.gov.ph, the city information office said there had been an average of 50,000 to 60,000 weekly tourist arrivals since pandemic restrictions were lifted. Of these, about 40,000 arrive from Friday to Sunday.  

“Supposing half of the daily tourist arrivals have their own cars, we can estimate more than 800 vehicles passing Botanical Garden during weekdays and even more during weekends so really there is a lot of traffic in the area,” Mr. Mapalo said.   

The “HoHo” buses will cover a route from the Baguio Convention Center, passing through the city’s tourist spots — including Botanical Garden, Mansion House, Mines View Park, Wright Park via Gibraltar Road — then through South Drive to the drop off point at Governor Pack Road, from where tourists can just walk to the central business district and Burnham Park.   

“The idea is ‘park and ride’ to decongest private vehicles parking in our streets and parks,” Mr. Mapalo said. 

Under the initial plan, a parking fee will be collected at the convention center and the funds will be used for operating the free HoHo services.   

Mr. Mapalo said they will adopt the current parking rates for different types of vehicles. 

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong has directed the tourism office and the city’s Traffic and Transportation Management Division to consult the public transport sector before the implementation of the tourist bus project. — MSJ