The LTFRB has granted a provisional increase of 50 cents and up to 1 peso and 50 cents for jeepney and bus fares respectively. Provisional, because they’re still deliberating on the much greater demands of the jeepney and bus associations.
As expected, both jeepney and bus associations are unhappy.
How do they think commuters feel? With the basic jeepney fare at 8 pesos now (and buses fares up to P11.50), the feeling of being victimized by drivers who wait … and wait … and … wait … for their vehicles to be filled with passengers (crowded together to within an inch of decency) before actually moving just got worse. And even when they do move, they stop every five minutes almost, to pick up more passengers (mainly because the driver saw that one passenger still had enough room to scratch his ear), making the already horrendous traffic even more unbearable.
All in all, no one is happy. Transport operators aren’t happy, commuters aren’t happy. Only the petrol companies have reason to smile – but then again, it’s a business, ain’t it? Not a charity.
But this is bullshit. The transport groups are right. The increases are piddling and will not do anything to offset the rising price of petrol. So we’re caught between a rock and a hard place: the transport industry isn’t making enough money and they’re still congesting traffic – which, ironically, drives up their fuel cost, so if you think about it, jeeps and buses actually end up contributing to their own shitty financial situation. As a commuter, I would be more comfortable shelling out more for fare if the traffic situation wasn’t so bad.
- Eliminate jeepneys for all but provincial routes and as tricycle substitutes;
- Eliminate tricycles and pedicabs for all but those routes with the narrowest roads. For everything else, substitute jeepneys – subdivisions can learn from the UP Ikot model;
- Impose and enforce a limit on buses plying the EDSA route. If possible, also impose and enforce a limit on the number of buses that will be allowed to ply EDSA at any given time;
- Complete the goddamned MRT, all the way to Monumento; and
- Impose strict regulation on the operation of all taxis – come this close to nationalizing the buggers.
I know some of these suggestions might be totally undoable. One or two will be very offensive to bleeding-heart types. And maybe all of them will never ever be implemented. But hey, these make sense to me and my limited commuter brain.