A Safe, Convenient and Efficient Public Transport: A Wishful Thinking?

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?

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19 thoughts on “A Safe, Convenient and Efficient Public Transport: A Wishful Thinking?”

  1. How I wish this is what jeepneys look like in Manila..Some areas in Manila are using e-jeepney or e-shuttle with the objective of replacing the traditional jeepney.

    1. It would be great to see e-public vehicles in metropolitan areas to lessen if not to eradicate pollution problems. But big oil and gas manufacturing firms will oppose to this for sure. Again, wishful thinking!

  2. How about using means of transportation that needs no gasoline, more practical and environmental friendly and economical
    . Will it ever happen?

    1. I understand there are cars run by natural gas in the U.S. and they are considered cheaper and environmental friendly (pollution-free) than gasoline. But there are drawbacks as well. But you know what, I recall there is one instance wherein a vehicle run with water alone, and with no gasoline! This is still far from our reach, I think! Wishful thinking, Again!

  3. Thanks for this article and it is very interesting to know that the leaders are now serious in solving its transportation problems. I have been to Manila and the people are superb, but some of its places are like crazy.

  4. These are truly great ideas on how to solve transportation problems. I believe that the Government should exclusively run the transport system to make the operations more efficient, just like New York. I think the MTA buses and subway trains are doing a great job.

  5. Interesting thoughts on the subject. I quite agree that the transport system in metropolitan cities like New York may be way far better than in other countries. However, the high transport cost that the riders are paying for may not be commensurate to the services offered to them. For instance, in Manila the fare for mass transport ranges from a low of $.20 (for jeepney) to a high of $0.50 (for metro and light rail trains) whereas in NYC a single local ride for subways and MTA buses would cost you $2.50 to $2.75. I understand there is current move to increase the said MTA fares. There is no problem of a fare hike if the services are made efficient and improved.

  6. I feel that developing an urban public transportation system that is safe, reliable and efficient should be the core focus of Government. Public commuters expect a transport that would bring them to their places of destination safely and on time. An uncomfortable and long travel time to work is a visible sign of urban dysfunction coupled with severe traffic problems. Perhaps, Government’s policy makers should now consider various transport modes and other externalities including eco-friendly transport choices which would are mutually beneficial to transport operators and commuters. Of course, public commuters should expect a higher fare for a rehabilitated and efficient transport system. Any change from worse to better is equated to additional costs.

  7. As you know, public transportation is also a problem in industrialized countries, how much more for third world countries such as the Philippines!

  8. That’s right, it’s frustrating when you came late to work because of traffic jams. Government sucks!

  9. Fortunately, I don’t experience such problems. My workplace is nearby my apartment. It is the luxury that I’ve got at the moment and I can afford to walk going to the office. It pays to get a condo near your workplace….promise it is stress-free, etc.

  10. It is good that in NYC I don’t have difficulty in moving around the city, hopping from one museum to another because of its efficient and prompt subway transport system. But if you do encounter transport related problems, try some innovative ways to keep you entertained (e.g. buy a good book to read, or an ipod to listen to your favorite music) ….and that will surely keep you away from stress.

  11. I have read so many stuff on the Malaysian Airlines tragedy, but you know what, your style of writing and the thoughts are really unique….

  12. This is my first time here and it’s amazing….I am pleased to read everything at one place! Your blog does not cover just one specific area…

  13. ooh, traffic and public transport problems appear to be almost everywhere in the world, especially in metro and mega cities. But probably in your city, it is far unique as the Govt. seem to not control anymore the huge task of easing and resolving the problem.

  14. What’s up guys! The public transport issue is eminent especially in 3rd world countries. Traffic problems in these places sucks, they can do nothing about this given the present facts and problems.

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