Everyday, we see posts of commuters’ rants online about the long lines in the MRT, trains not working, jeepneys nearly hitting pedestrians, bus conductors not giving back their change, accidents on the road, and taxi drivers who demand more than what is in the meter.
Daily, Filipino commuters are fed up with how our transport system works and how the department manages it. In Filipino, na-empacho or nabibilaukan na, but some still manage to keep everything down, while others look for alternatives just to keep themselves sane after a long day’s commute. “Sa inaraw-araw na ginawa ng Diyos...” people suffer from different human rights violations on the road itself. The sad thing is that, much as we are aware of this, there is nothing changing despite all the rants trying to catch the government’s attention.
A new set of additional coaches for the MRT lines might not even spark a gleam of hope in people’s eyes. Even the new ticketing system haven’t really proven itself yet. It seems like every effort put into quick fixes and long term plans to change and mend the transport in the Philippines do not find the funny bone of our commuters anymore. Taxi, bus, and jeepney drivers returning wallets or gadgets maybe the only noteworthy things commuters see in our public transport system, and we commend these scenarios because they appear to be extraordinary gestures when in fact they should be the norm.
In simpler words, the transportation system in the Philippines is a cross we all bear everyday – whether you are a commuter or if you drive a car. This is the same cross we use to bash the skulls of our fellow commuters just to save a seat or squeeze in a small space to stand in. All of these, we have to go through just to get to work or school on time, keep our jobs and to keep living.
The idea of DOTC’s last hurrah before the Aquino administration ends is to move people and not cars, to maximize limited road space, and to get more people to leave their cars. The plan includes LRT 2 extension, construction of Skyway Stage 3, Metro Manila BRT System, bus and jeepney reforms, public transport information management center, fleet management system, making Philippines a walk and bike friendly country, and a Public Information Drive where the public can hold the officials accountable for stunted plans. DOTC Assistant Secretary for Planning Sherielysse Reyes Bonifacio said that the full impact of the projects will be felt 3-5 years from now.
But how can you persuade your commuters to switch to public transportation service if your current transport system isn’t even a service to your everyday commuters?
It has been two years since the GV Florida Bus Crash and justice is nowhere in sight while the bus operator is currently in business as usual. The call of the survivors and the victims’ families remain the same; a reform in our transport system should be prioritized.
It is Holy Week and a lot of people are on their way home to their provinces or for a quick vacation. We hope you get to your destinations safe. We challenge our government to create more ambitious plans to keep our people safe and our transport system more reliable, keeping in mind that this is a service to your people. Meanwhile, all we can tell you as of now is Ingat.