Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Manila any more

I saw a different Manila today.

Bus-less road in Taft Avenue, Manila. Photo courtesy of GMA News

Gone are the long moments where you can do your make-up for fifteen minutes in a standstill jeep on a rush hour traffic, or the times when you sleep for ten minutes inside the jeep, wake up and find yourself at the very same spot the moment you fell asleep. Indeed, we are used to on hearing bad news and criticisms in Manila, we cannot believe that something good finally came out of the city.

The city council of Manila starts the ban for provincial buses in the city on Tuesday, Buses coming from south via Taft Avenue must turn right to Vito Cruz while those coming from San Juan must turn left to Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard. The ordinance, of course, is met with critical reception and mixed reactions. Others welcomed the city’s move, other commuters who took the bus are unsurprisingly angry by this. For my part, since my commuting in Manila never involved taking a bus, I was pleasantly shocked by the smooth ride from Intramuros to the Manila City Hall, a site for one of the most horrendous traffics in Metro Manila. With the bus ban, I still can’t believe it took only ten minutes to get to downtown Manila from the City Hall that I almost wanted to turn to the girl sitting beside me inside the jeep and say, “I think we’re not in Manila anymore”

Bus-less Manila City Hall. Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin

But let us not rejoice. What about our fellow commuters who regularly took the bus and now must pay double for the transportation to their destinations? What would happen if it’s rush hour? What would happen if heavy rains will again flood Manila and people have to wade far into the flood just to ride a jeepney to Quiapo, get off at heavily flooded Espana, wade on the flood again and take the bus there?

Yes, the ordinance is an achievement for the new Manila government but next time, I hope they listen to what other commuters have to say though. Yes, walking is a healthy solution to get to the nearest bus stop but with Manila’s infamous sidewalks, dark alleys and hell-bent jeepney drivers, not to mention, the pollution, daily commuting would be a pain in the neck.

In some news, I heard Manila city council is planning to have its own bus line composed of electric green buses. Too good to be true, but I hope they would develop this project in the near future. In the meantime, MMDA wants to adapt the same bus ban on the whole Metropolis to decongest the national roads. Wow, goodluck with that chairman, and I mean it on an my most un-sarcastic tone.

Anyways, I think they should also implement a strategy on the garahe-jeeps or jeepney drivers who make intersections, traffic stops and LRT entrances their own terminals as they wait for passengers. This is another problem persisting in Manila City Hall for some time. Garahe jeeps should have a time limit or something but I know this is close to impossible since traffic enforcers should be stationed in every possible national road in whole Manila. Discipline is also very important on both sides, the motorists and the commuters. You may have good laws, good ordinances, good schemes, but effectiveness ultimately boils down to the public who will follow your rules.

Whatever the fate of the bus ban ordinance will be, I hope it would lead to more comprehensive steps to rid Manila of its trademark traffic without compromising both the commuters and drivers. A livability of a city is not measured by its traffic schemes after all. It’s also about the basic transportation services it offers to the public and the public’s general opinion towards it.

AFTERTHOUGHT:

Still, I didn’t expect Mayor Erap to do this. I’m genuinely shocked😀 If he could also divert his political will to the part of the commuters too, then Manila wouldn’t be a commuter’s nightmare anymore.

About sentimentalfreak

Consistently inconsistent. Forever searching and wandering. 'Tis only writing that calms down her restless little soul.

Posted on July 24, 2013, in It's More Fun in the Philippines, My country, reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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