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Transport problems worsen with the rainy season

Commuters wear face masks against the coronavirus while waiting for transport in Mandaluyong, the Philippines, July 15, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

Long queues during rush hours, insufficient number of public utility vehicles (PUVs), heavy rains and flooding are just some of the many transportation problems faced by commuters in Metro Manila.

In a survey by transport advocacy network The Passenger Forum (TPF), 79% of respondents said their wait times for a ride are generally too long, while 96% said the number of LCVs on the road, including jeepneys and buses, are not enough to serve commuters.

“This number confirms what we regularly see on roads and sidewalks, especially during rush hour,” TPF official Primo Morillo said of the survey, which involved 100 respondents and was conducted July 16-17.

“Of the remaining 21%, five own an electric bicycle or scooter and another four are neutral or cannot decide whether their wait is too long or not. With this, we can deduce that there is only approximately 12% of commuters who are satisfied with their current wait time,” Morillo added.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Under Secretary Mark Steven Pastor earlier asserted that available transportation should be “sufficient provided operators deploy 90% of their PUV units.”

However, the deployment of VUPs has been affected by continuous cycles of fuel price hikes and the slow or non-existent deployment of payments for Libreng Sakay drivers and workers.

Meanwhile, the TPF survey also revealed that:

  • 97% of commuters want more trains and train lines

  • 96% think our sidewalks are cramped and narrow

  • 93% prefer more infrastructure for the protection of commuters, such as waiting sheds and integrated terminals

  • 88% want the interconnectivity of different transport modes and routes.

Heavy rains and flooding only worsen the current condition of subway commuters.

Heavy rains and floods

Parts of Metro Manila experienced flash flooding after a heavy downpour ahead of the rainy season.

Some roads are left impassable, affecting commuters waiting to be driven home, with some choosing to walk home.

Earlier, engineer and urban transport expert Rene Santiago said traffic in the region remains unresolved as the government deals with “necessary infrastructure backlogs”.

“There is an effort but the traditional solution of more infrastructure has not done it because the implementation is very slow and we have a backlog of necessary infrastructure not built over the past four decades,” said Santiago in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Exchange. .

“Our ability to add infrastructure is very slow compared to traffic growth… We just can’t keep up with it,” he added.

Meanwhile, transport expert and urban planner Robert Siy said the Duterte administration should have focused more on the welfare of commuters rather than the number of projects being implemented, which were mostly infrastructure that was part of of Duterte’s so-called “Build, Build, Build”.

“We have been in a transport crisis for many years. [The] the government should regularly track and report performance indicators such as commuter travel time, waiting/waiting time and travel costs so that its efforts are directed towards improving these indicators,” Siy said.

Commuters still face worse transportation problems despite the Philippines’ debt nearing 13 trillion pesos, which has risen in part due to the Duterte administration’s allocation of funds for infrastructure.

Pola Rubio is a journalist and photojournalist covering Filipino politics and events. She regularly follows global and local events. She defends animal welfare and freedom of the press. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat posts.

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