Social media users shared their own commuting experiences after a Twitter post was perceived to dismiss the commuting public’s plight about the EDSA bus carousel service.
A Twitter user on Tuesday commented on a news article reporting about commuters lamenting that the free bus rides have been costing them additional time on the road.
The report said that “long queues of commuters were seen along Buendia, Cubao and Guadalupe stations” at about 5 p.m. on Monday.
It also featured an interview with a commuter who said that availing of the free bus rides had forced her to spend more time commuting due to the long lines.
“Minsan abot one and a half hours po. Minsan uwian, mag umpisa pila mga 5 p.m. tapos makakasakay na minsan mga 10 lalo na pag Sabado,” Ritchell Tyros said to ABS-CBN News.
The commuter also shared experiencing the same thing in the mornings when she goes to work.
“Lalo na nga rin po sa PITX, tuwing umaga naman ‘yung pila Napakahaba,” Tyros added, referring to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, a public transport terminal acting as a hub for buses, jeepneys and other utility vehicles.
The article was also accompanied by a video report of a correspondent who likened the lines in the bus carousel stations to queues for “box office hit” movies.
A Twitter user reacted to the report by sharing a screengrab of the article’s title and its first paragraph with the comment:
“Libre na may reklamo pa. ‘It wastes their time.’ Wala namang pumipilit na yan ang sakyan ninyo. Pwede namang sumakay sa ibang mode of transportation.”
The post was accompanied by a facepalm emoji.
It has received several responses from different Filipinos who shared their commuting experiences in separate posts.
“May MRT naman. Have you seen the lines during rush hour??? Grab and taxi prices are too high. LOL,” a Twitter user wrote in a quote tweet.
“Lmaooo even if this is not for free, sobrang s*itty pa rin ng public transpo natin at the end of the day. Kahit MRT na ‘di naman libre ngayon, mahaba pa rin ang pila. Not everyone can afford taxi or TVNs either. And even if you have the money, hirap pa rin mag-book madalas,” another online user said.
“Not everyone can pay for other transpo service like Grab/Angkas/Joyride/taxi. I commute from Valenzuela to Boni everyday. My work is after midnight na. It costs me 300 pesos sa Angkas just to get to work. If gusto ko makatipid, I sacrifice 5 hours of my day just to get to work,” wrote a different Filipino.
“Transpo could be free but you could still be standing in line for hours, bozo. It does waste everyone’s time,” another online user said.
“Huh. Time is also a currency. Libre pamasahe pero 2hrs++ ipipila mo. Tsaka ano ibang option? Daming nawalang city buses routes ng EDSA. I needed to ride both carousel (and) MRT from Muñoz just to get to Gateway. Choosing the carousel was actually a compromise for the most of us,” wrote another commuter.
In a 2014 study, the Japan International Cooperation Agency projected that the country would economically lose P3.5 billion daily due to traffic congestion in Metro Manila as some employees could not immediately work if stuck in traffic for hours.
Without new transportation infrastructure, the loss can rise to P5.4 billion daily by 2035, according to the JICA chief representative to the Philippines.
JICA suggested that the government invest in more projects which will ease traffic congestion and improve connectivity in and out of the metropolis.
The EDSA bus carousel is a bus rapid transit line that is part of the bus routes in Metro Manila.
It has an exclusive right-of-way on a dedicated bus lane separated from the normal road traffic on the busy thoroughfare.
The government started offering free rides since last year to initially aid the limited capacity of the Metro Rail Transit and supposedly decongest traffic along EDSA.
Rides will continue to be free until December 2022.
But despite the money-saving scheme, many have been dismayed about how queueing for it takes hours.
“Nakamura nga sila, fair. But it says something about how hard life is now that people are willing to trade so much time for the gas money they save. Their time is valued so little,” transport advocate Robert Anthony Siy said before.