We deserve better mass transport

By: Ricky Poca October 23,2017 - 10:37 PM

Ricky Poca

The transport strike held last Monday and Tuesday by militant transport groups highlighted anew the need to modernize mass transport to serve the riding public.

While these militant transport groups and operators object to the modernization program by saying that the e-jeepneys are very expensive to buy, the national government is right when it said that newer electric-powered jeepneys are cleaner and more convenient to the commuters who don’t have to deal with air pollution.

We’re not even talking about the dilapidated passenger jeepneys that are cramped and certified smoke belchers. Personally, I support the government’s mass transport modernization program because it is good for the public.

Our urban areas are so polluted, and I am happy that President Duterte warned the transport sector to modernize or else get out of the business. That goes to show that the President is very much aware of the issue and how modernizing mass transport would be beneficial to all.

I hope that both the government and the commuters won’t yield to the threat of militant transport groups to stage more transport strikes and holidays in order to pressure them into agreeing with what they want, which is to let them continue to operate their aging, dilapidated and smoke-belching jeepneys.

Let’s see if they make good on their threat. How long are they going to survive?

The jeepney operators and militant transport leaders had been abusing the government and the riding public’s kindness and understanding for so long that it had become ludicrous.

I believe that the government should no longer negotiate with the passenger jeepney owners and operators because their minds are already fixed.

They are not in favor of modernization because they just want to earn without any accountability to their passengers whatsoever. Mind you, if they still refuse to adjust, there are many other operators and owners who are innovative and willing to fill public demand for better mass transport.

These PUV operators and owners owe the riding public a lot because they have earned so much at their expense. They are unwilling to give back to the riding public.

So I dare these PUV operators to go on strike peacefully for as long as they want, and we should ask the local government units to prepare by allowing their vehicles to be used by the public during the strike.

The national government and its agencies should first educate the transport sector about their modernization program. The mass transport modernization program is similar in a way to the tax reform bill in which commodities that have higher sugar content are taxed higher because they are unhealthy.

Since these products are unhealthy, why buy them if it would only lead them straight to the hospital and costly medical expenses? Yet the manufacturers of these products are asking the government to reconsider since it would affect their livelihood.

What is unfortunate is that there are politicians who are siding and riding on these issues regardless of how it would impact on public welfare.

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