‘Ayusin muna’: Gov’t told amid call for public to use mass transportation

January 24, 2024 - 5:41 PM
Passengers wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) queue to ride a train while others exit at a station in Manila, Philippines, April 4, 2022. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

A statement made by a transport official encouraging the public to use mass transportation to reduce heavy traffic garnered mixed reactions on social media.

On Tuesday, Department of Transportation Command and Control Operations Center chief Charlie Del Rosario called on the public to shift to using public transportation, instead of using private vehicles and motorcycles, in an aim to alleviate traffic in Metro Manila.

“We encourage po ‘yung paggamit ng mass transportation dito na rin po sa Kamaynilaan,” he said in a briefing.

Del Rosario added, “dahil nga po alam naman po natin na napakarami po ng ating motor vehicle sa lansangan, private vehicles po ‘yan.”

The advice drew flak from social media users who pointed out the need to improve the country’s infrastructure and public transportation.

“They need to improve first the infrastructure and the public transportation. It’s just not safe for everyone, especially for senior citizens,” an X user said.

“The Government needs to invest in mass transportation that is convenient, comfortable, time saving, while affordable to everyone. Encouragement isn’t enough, there have to be clear advantages instead of using a car,” another X user commented.

Singer and actress Gab Pangilinan posted, “What if i-fix muna ang public transpo before magsuggest ng ganito. What if lang naman.”

The transport official’s advice also came amid the looming implementation of the public utility vehicle modernization program and the jeepney phaseout.

As part of the government’s controversial PUVMP, jeepneys and other PUVs that failed to apply for consolidation before the Dec. 31, 2023 deadline will not be allowed to operate beginning February 1.

According to the DOTr, only 40% of jeepneys in Metro Manila have consolidated for the modernization program.

The Land Transportation Office has earlier said that it is preparing its crackdown against colorum PUVs.

Last week, a study released by transportation data company TomTom Traffic showed that traffic worsened in Metro Manila in 2023, with drivers taking an average of 25 minutes and 30 seconds to drive for 10 kilometers.

Manila topped the list of 387 metro areas, overtaking Lima in Peru, Bengaluru in India, Sapporo in Japan, and Bogota in Colombia.