Badly needed: Efficient, affordable transport systems | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Protests against higher fares of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) trains underscore once again the pressing need for efficient, reliable and affordable mass transport systems.

Although both the MRT and LRT break down every other day and people suffer the pain and indignity of being packed tighter than sardines, thousands of commuters would rather put up with the inconveniences just to get to their destinations.

Newspaper reports say the Philippine population would reach more than 104 million this year. It means Metro Manila residents and transient visitors would also increase significantly.

On weekdays, a lot of people head to the metropolis for business transactions; many of them live outside Metro Manila but also work in its cities.

But what is happening in Metro Manila is also beginning to be felt in Cebu and other major cities nationwide.

Yet it seems transport authorities do not have any plans on how to relieve the misery of commuters; they’re more concerned about cutting down trees to widen roads while leaving ordinary citizens to hustle their way into packed trains, buses and jeepneys.

Regular maintenance and repair of the MRT and LRT trains will not solve the problem. So-called experts have to look at the situation objectively and fairly, regardless of how many votes will be lost if they make tough decisions to bring order and sanity to the chaotic traffic situation and make traveling safe, convenient and hassle-free for hardworking Filipinos and ordinary students.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Jeepneys have to go. Many of them cause air and noise pollution. They are also unsafe for passengers, and I’m not just talking about reckless drivers, many of whom should not be allowed on the road, much less issued licenses.

Passengers are jolted almost out of their seats every time a jeepney stops or maneuvers, since many drivers cannot make smooth gear shifts.

Drivers also do not seem to think it is part of their responsibility to their passengers to at least be presentable. They apparently jump into their jeepneys as soon as they wake up, looking like they’re wearing the same clothes they slept in, face unwashed, hair uncombed.

Jeepneys built to seat about 10 people comfortably carry 12 or more, some sitting practically on the edge of the seat, holding tightly to something to keep themselves from falling.

Some jeepneys’ ceilings are so low, passengers could bump their heads getting on and off them.

I know jeepney drivers represent hundreds of votes for politicians, but don’t happy commuters mean more?

Hassle-free Grab Taxi

Speaking of hassle-free travel, for the first time in years I didn’t have to worry so much about getting a cab during the holidays.

Grab Taxi—and I hope Easy Taxi, too—reduced the stress of getting a cab no matter where I was and where I was going. I didn’t have to stand on the street and compete with a hundred other people.

There was some waiting time involved sometimes, but at least I could wait in the comfort of my home or the office and didn’t have to “beg” to be taken somewhere where traffic was particularly bad.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]