Everyday, Filipinos, especially in the national capital, have to endure a myriad of transport problems. The most glaring of these are traffic, road shortages and the absence of an efficient mass transport system which cost them a big chunk of their incomes. These problems are further exacerbated by various schemes of those in power, which mostly cater to the whims of big capitalists.
According to a study in 2012, a commuter in Manila is stuck in traffic for an average of an hour and six minutes a day. This translates to 16 days a year. An individual loses up to P100,000 in income in the said duration. The local economy is estimated to have lost P2.4 billion a day due to traffic. Overall, this is equivalent to 2% to 5% of the GDP.
This is worsened by the increase in number of private vehicles due to low interest rates on car loans. Estimates indicate that the number of private vehicles during rush hours is double the capacity of roads. As a result, commuters spend more than double the time they need in transit.
Meanwhile, mass transportation is severely insufficient. Train systems in Metro Manila which span 246 kilometers are 100% congested.
Because of this, many commuters prefer other modes of transportion such as private vans, FX (UV express) and others. Newest among these is the ride-sharing system operated by big companies such as Grab and Angkas. Many commuters rely on these modes for their daily commutes. Thus, they are dismayed by the regime’s policies which made commuting more strenuous.
Among these is a regulation issued by the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board which limits vehicles under the UV express system to pick and unload passengers only at terminals. This is akin to the Metro Manila Development Authority’s banning of provincial buses along EDSA, Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare which cuts across several cities. The MMDA regulation also limits buses to load and unload passengers at dilapidated terminals across the metropolis. These regulations make commuting more difficult and expensive to many travellers. It is also dangerous for the elderly and disabled who rely on direct transportation.
The continuing and worsening transport problem is a result of the Duterte regime’s failure to develop an efficient mass transportation system that will benefit the people. His policies only serve the interests of big capitalists including oil companies, big banks, car and other private vehicle manufacturers.