of LTFRB, the public, and Uber

Yes, reader, it has been inconvenient for your daily commute now that you have gotten used to the luxury that is ride-sharing.

Yes, also, that you have all the right to air your concerns for or against LTFRB, Uber, and the general mass transit system of the Philippines.

Instead of the standard rant that most of you share, why not take it a notch further and create solutions for yourselves?

Let’s get to the root cause of why many of us opt for Uber or Grab in the first place: Mass transport system is, for a lack of a better word or phrase, horridly disgusting, which doesn’t even begin to grasp the gravity of the situation.

I’m dismissing a lot of the arguments for and against tricycles and pedicabs since these forms are concentrated down to the local government unit.

The jeepney

The very first problem from jeepney drivers is that, though it is required of them to attain professional drivers’ license status, the current Philippine standard does not cover many aspects of proper driving and rules and engagement of driving on an international scale.

It seems that a lot of the requirements of going “pro” is that you know how to accelerate, bake turn, reverse, park, and do a three-point-turn.

It is still very prevalent, very obviously, in fact, that most of these “professional” drivers don’t know how to stick to a sidelane when loading or unloading passengers, stop before an intersection, common driving courtesy of right of way, sticking to PUV lanes, counterflow because it’s inconvenient and slow, and create jeepney terminals whenever convenient.

I understand, too, that these people need to make a living. Perfectly clear. However, does it have to come at the expense of everyone else on the road who, mind you, are taxpayers who have just ass much rights as the next “professional” jeepney driver? Perhaps if we all considered creating standards on the actual basics towards professional driving ethics then maybe we won’t be garnering too much of a problem.

All of the arguments have not even touched on ecological matters such as the smog output of each of these jeepneys, safety of passengers through regular tune-ups and checks, real use of smoke screening mechanisms (that cost extra for a basic public transport.) You see the mounting problems here?

The bus

This bus system only obeys laws (most of the time) along EDSA and all of the time within Makati (only if there are enforcers present and visible). Much like the problems of the drivers of jeepneys, most bus drivers hardly ever have proper training for defensive driving, and knowledge of the rules and regulations of the road.

This has come to a point where the conductors already have a pseudo system in place to check for traffic enforcers ahead of them to know if they can get away with a violation.

The ‘intel’ comes from co-conductors ahead of them under the same umbrella company or the ambulant vendors that load into the buses to sell goods and commodities.

Don’t even get me started on leg room, or lack thereof, inside a supposed 60-seater turned to 80 by cramming as little a leg space fit for munchkins and oompa loompas.

The entire ‘experience’ spirals down as more and more people are crammed, pushed, shoved, shouted at to take as little a space in SRO position with hardly a comfortable hold on the handrails (if they are tall enough) or actual space for passengers who wish to alight, to alight.

Buses that rely on ‘natural air’ for internal cooling have even been dubbed “biyaheng langit” for the insane speeds of a bus careening through an almost empty highway at 2 in the morning hardly missing potholes, crossing animals and humans, or sometimes, other vehicles.

Perhaps its the system of asking for a ‘boundary’ fee per bus that requires them to have to make the most amount of trips being filled the most amount of times in a day just to get to earn for a living.

Perhaps it is also the companies themselves that don’t support regular pay to these drivers to keep them on their toes and working three times as hard as regular buses are supposed to. This goes outside of the fact that, until now, 2017, conductors are still issuing tickets manually pulled from a collection of tickets because technological advancements have yet to reach their hands.

The Taxis

There are a lot to be said with this mode of transportation since it’s supposed to be the most convenient of options out of all of the “options” provided to us by the government.

I’ll begin with saying that yes, it is exasperating to even try to understand the current state of affairs. Yes, the drivers themselves are imposed daily boundary fares which means the short trips they choose allow them to reach their quota further.

We understand this specially if the vehicle and the license is not theirs but from an operator. Then, perhaps we should look at it from the point of operators like the favored Ryo Aki that, I’ve been told by drivers themselves, have base salary plus benefits outside of commission in case they perform really well. Even before TNVs, Ryo Aki has a Line profile you can book from with an additional 50 pesos reservation fee.

We should then look to LTFRB to impose said requirements to pay drivers reasonable base salary on all companies offering taxi services instead of letting them sort it out themselves. Also, we should look to the training of the drivers themselves that cut every corner they can, cut every line possible, and, overall, disobey rules of driving in general.

These all go without pointing out cab cleanliness, orderliness, and the fumes from LPG enabled vehicles.

The Public

It is through our own fault, too, that we have road problems, let’s admit to that.

Countless private car owners, drivers, think it fair to bend the rules if everyone else seem to be in on it. No pedestrian feels safe crossing the street on a properly painted asphalt with clear zebra lines what with a majority of those on the road care little about letting the walking public pass through for selfish gains. Yes, the same not knowing the rules of the road apply to you too.

Which leads me to discuss Subic and how traffic is managed there. In case you didn’t know, Subic is the embodiment of the international model of road safety and road etiquette. For whatever reason, those that experience Subic can’t seem to bring what they learn to Manila. There are hardly any stoplights in major roads in Subic but just paints that say “stop” indicating to apply right-of-way to the right vehicle.

And it’s surprising, too, for newbie drivers to get tickets left and right committing violation after violation where it is expected of them to know the rules (most of them basic) way before they learn how to accelerate.

The same can be said to the public that rely on mass transport where they seem to feel it quite alright to rush towards a public utility vehicle stopped in the middle of the road because it’s convenient, because everyone else is rushing towards the same means of transport.

Yes, there are pocket areas where, for some strange miracle, the riding public have decided to organize and fall in line. However, those come far and few in between that it’s hard to appreciate the minute efforts of trying to make commuting livable.

Perhaps if we all alighted and loaded in the right lanes and areas, we could be a step closer into solving the real problem.


Uber and Grab

The existence and overwhelming support to keep Uber and Grab in the picture paints more reasons to show how ineffective the government, the license holders, and the public has been in solving the root cause of the problem. It’s convenient, yes, but did it solve the real problem? Hardly. You asked for more cars, more drivers (some of them with the same problems mentioned above), more demand for gas, more air pollution, and, frankly, more problems than we already have in the first place.

Yes, it’s safer comparing (way safer, in fact, that riders are comfortable enough to doze off in ride-sharing enabled vehicles). It’s more convenient to not have to haggle with unfair rates and guesstimates. No more complaints from the driver saying “traffic doon,” which is why the service is called for and immensely supported.

LTFRB

We also understand that LTFRB is looking to earn from this crackdown for whatever reason. I’ll just leave it at that.

And yes, we, the public, are smarter than your lame excuses about how we should “exercise our rights and force the taxi driver to bring us where we want,” or that “Uber is not registered, therefor it is not safe,” poppycock.

 

The Filipino

Perhaps it’s the same for you. Perhaps you have heard yourself complain about the same things. Why then haven’t you done anything about it?

What have you done to solve the same problems you so easily post on social media?

Mabuhay Manila.

Drew Uy

I do words, food, coffee, and photos.

Hit me up on Twitter @ginuhit

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