In developed metro cities like New York and Tokyo, commuters would opt to take the city’s public transportation facilities such as metro buses and the subway trains in going to schools and workplaces because of its accessibility and convenience. This is understandable as the mass transport facilities of the said places are by far excellent, responding to the needs of the public riders.
This is definitely not the case in certain developing countries in Asia and Africa as public transportation is either inadequate or unsafe. In Metro Manila for instance, there are various modes of public transportation touring the metropolis, apart from private cars of the privileged few from the middle and upper class. Majority of the riding public utilize public transportation which include among others, cabs or taxis, jeepneys, tricycles, buses, railroad trains, and the light or metro railway services.
Even with the plethora of transport to choose from, there is an apparent lack of an efficient, convenient and a safe means of public transportation coupled with the traffic congestion which worsens the problem. There are several reasons to the said complex transportation issue in the Metro which are known to the experts and those in authorities but which immediate solutions to the problem are nowhere near realizable.
The traffic which builds up on major roads is not only a big headache to those in government but also to the riding public, particularly during peak hours. To avoid traffic, passengers who are mostly students and workers are left with no choice but to rush, wait in line under the scorching heat of the sun (especially during summer days) and literally grapple with co-passengers just to get inside the sardine-packed train coaches. Hey guys, an expat friend experienced this for the first time in her life, and she promised herself, she would never ever dare to ride Manila’s metro rail! Yes, she luckily got inside the coach but the agony of not being able to breathe properly as she tends to be claustrophobic once in a while and the unpleasant “smells”, made the said experience no longer worth trying! I am sure the said case is not unique to Metro Manila. This happens also in other congested and densely populated countries like India and China. I shall, however, convince my friend to try it again, once the brand new coaches arrive in 2016! Wishful thinking?
The jeepneys and buses in Metro Manila are not also an efficient and reliable means of transportation. Take the case of jeepneys, while they are the cheapest in terms of fees and fares, they have been identified as the culprits for the traffic and smoke belching issues. Jeepneys in the city are just too many (some are old, rusty and dilapidated); it seems the regulatory body and the implementing agencies are not able to control the proliferation of this kind of vehicle, same with its backyard manufacturers. Are there existing laws and regulations on jeepney operations and manufacturing? Are these laws properly and strictly enforced?
While it may be costly to enforce jeepney operators to make jeepneys more environmentally friendly, it is worth a try. In so doing, the antiquated jeepneys would be replaced by new and even air-conditioned ones plying all over the main routes in Metro Manila. This will definitely help solve the traffic problems and would be more convenient to riders.
Fingers crossed and I am positive some good things will happen to Manila’s public transportation system in the future. How about this kind of jeepneys traveling around the city? This would make jeepneys not only a genuine landmark and a symbol of Filipino ingeniuty, but also a tourist attraction, thus no longer an eyesore in the highways and byways of Metro Manila. Wishful thinking?