The chair takes a ride
How sporting of the rather chivalrous MMDA chairman Tolentino to take up the challenge, or rather dare, of many angry commuters to take public transport. This, a few days after provincial buses were restricted to the new Uniwide Coastal Mall or south west IPTS [Integrated Provincial Transport System] for CAVITEx on the periphery of the metro's limits. Way off the usual CBD terminus drop off that many commuters rightfully like and are used to. After all, since we do not have an underground commuter railway from CBD to outlying regions, unlike many multi million population capitals across the globe, surface transport by bus, shares space with all kinds of transport. The resulting jostling for space resulting in traffic, is the bitter pill we daily swallow. The problem was not with the provincial buses, franchised and colorum, who all uncharacteristically and sheepishly obeyed the new diktat of the 13 mayors. The problem was the lack of intermodal city buses and jeepneys for onward CBD journeys for the commuters disembarking at the new terminal. Many commuters fear the same fate awaits when the outlying Trinoma IPTS for the NLEx and Alabang South Station or South East IPTS for the SLEx are commissioned since they may just be as severed from intermodal transport routes that reach the various CBD's of the metropolis.
Like Gladiators in mortal combat
And so Chairman Tolentino took the bus. Actually, it was simply rhetoric asking for a rhetorical response, just like what the Roman emperors did, delivering blood when the angry mob was screaming for blood. Chairman Tolentino and all government officials know that the privately run misnomered public transportation is and has been badly run ever since Mel Mathay ceased running the defunct MMC in coordination with the defunct Metro Manila Transit Corp.
Taking public can cost you your job
Chairman Tolentino and all government functionaries surely know how bad public transport is and it would be a great waste of time and public funds if these government officials took public transport everyday. In fact, we would advice government officials NOT to take public transportation so that they can serve us better. No point adding to the lousy productivity that lousy transportation causes. If I took public transportation when I was a government employee many many moons [and comets] ago, I'd end up with a negative paycheck every 7th and 21st of the month considering my pay was a princely 1,500.00 Pesos a month.
Wanton franchise, license to print money
Government officials need not share in the pain to know how bad it is. That is why they are trying to find a solution to a mess aggravated by wanton issuance of Metro and EDSA route franchises over the past ten years. Its nice to talk about subways and expansion of the light rail network, the latter a feat consistently postponed by the DoTC for the past 3 years. The fact that EDSA has four to five times [and counting] the number of buses - franchised and colorum – it should have servicing it, shows that there is indeed a demand that supply is barely coping with. We venture to guess that the bus companies, no matter how cut throat their competition is, are making money for it stands to reason that no one would like to crowd into a route that was a money loser? As for commuters who ride a half filled bus for half of the EDSA journey, why should they complain? A half filled bus is a luxury as rare as a black swan in Shanghai and Cairo. To think EDSA already has an MRT that carries 40%more commuters that it was designed for.
Make C-5 the new EDSA for buses
Our suggestion to alleviate this mess is dependent on a complete and working C-5, from CAVITEx in the south to NLEx segment 10 in Valenzuela, Manila North Road in the North so that more intermodal transport can access the provincial bus terminals. Also critical is the final geometric alignments of the Tandang Sora widening coupled to the Luzon Ave-Katipunan Ave. flyover on Commonwealth. This entails shunting to C-5 bus routes that used to take EDSA from Alabang to Fairview. Depending on a proper study, this will require new intermodal transfer stations and even new public transport feeder routes. It may even opt for reduced stops to reduce the chances of turning C-5 into another EDSA with too many stops in between CBD's.
Loop the loop
Some degree of route overlap may even be allowed. For example, a bus emanating from Pampanga need not end its trip in the Trinoma IPTS northern terminus. It should be allowed to proceed to the Alabang South Station or Uniwide Coastal Mall terminus and turn around at either. That way, the bus can ferry crosstown commuters via C5 which can initially be an optional express route to the main terminals. Southern Western and South Eastern buses should also do the same: traverse C5 to carry passengers to the northern bus terminal to turn around and loop back to originating province. EDSA now becomes a zone exclusive to city buses serving Monumento-Baclaran-Mall of Asia and Fairview-Alabang. Perhaps the bus companies themselves can simulate this proposal but the key is still finishing C5, end to end, and to provide onward journey feeder routes at a few bus stops along, C5. We envision these bus stops at BGC, Shaw, Ortigas, Libis, Aurora, CP Garcia, UP, Tandang Sora and so on along Commonwealth heading to Trinoma North Ave. We repeat, that the planners should be vigilant of transferring the EDSA bus stop mess to C5 and make sure that there are connecting trips on the chosen bus stops to feeder routes. Beyond this, our thoughts now turn to the last quarter and the coming 'ber' months with anticipations and anxieties.
Will DoST Sec. Mario 'robot parking lot' Montejo's Project Noah always accurately tell us where the next Ondoy/Habagat will strike?
The magic 210,000?
Are we really on track to hit the 210,000 mark in vehicle sales this year? Despite LTO's slow approval of plate number supplier ? Resulting in the delayed release of number plates, both old &new ? Despite the temporary suspension of choice of number plate ending and vanity plates while LTO clears stock of old numbers? Will coding for conduction stickers, stay on forever too ?
The Fort, Makati?
Will we have to deal with 12hr/5days a week coding in Bonifacio Global City if coding free Taguig loses possession of the Fort to Makati City? Will we see the yellow and green MAPSA boys lording it over BGC?
Meantime, we worry about the rains everyday even as classes are cancelled.