A commuter lamented on Facebook the hefty costs of the Point-to-Point (P2P) bus ride which he took following the end of the government’s free Metro Rail Transit ride program.
This complaint launched talks on the accessibility of the P2P bus system and the impact of fuel price hikes on public transport.
His post was later picked up and reported on Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital on July 6.
In the Facebook post, the commuter named JP Garcia said he was initially delighted that he found a P2P bus route from Makati City to Fairview Terraces in Quezon City.
This saved him from the hassle of MRT train rides. However, he later regretted the P2P bus service after he paid P160 for it.
“Kung balikan ay 320 – lagpas doble sa pamasahe ko kung sasakay ako ng MRT at ordinaryong bus na pumapatak lang ng halos 150 ang balikan,” the commuter was quoted as saying in the report.
“Hindi afford ng isang minimum wage earner ang sumakay araw-araw sa ganitong transportasyon dahil lagpas sa kalahati ng sahod nila ang presyo ng pamasahe. Kaya pala kahit may mabilis at mas magandang alternatibo ay mas pinipili nilang makipagsiksikan sa MRT,” he added.
Garcia hoped that the new administration will prioritize addressing these prevailing public transportation concerns.
“Sana ay maging prayoridad ng bagong administrasyon ang pagsasaayos ng transportasyon para sa mga commuters lalo’t malaking porsyento ng 31 million ay mga ordinaryong mamamayan na sumasakay ng pampublikong sasakyan,” he was quoted as saying.
Talks on P2P, public transport
The now-viral post received mixed reactions and comments on Facebook.
Some Filipinos shared similar sentiments as Garcia on the impact of the expensive fares.
“Iyan din ang sentiment ko. Bilang magulang, insist ang F2F. Sa mahal ng gasolina kung higit sa isa ang estudyante mo na namamasahe, paano kakasya ang maliit na kita,” one Facebook user said.
“Ganun na talaga. Yung van nga dito sa amin, dati 45 lang. 60 na nung last na sakay ko hindi ako na inform,” another online user commented.
Some online users, meanwhile, pointed out the limited accessibility that the P2P bus system offered even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mahal talaga ang P2P kasi bago ang premium buses. Hindi siya pangmasa, ika nga parang Grab ng taxi na premium. Before pandemic from Makati to Trinoma, 70 pesos na. Dadaan ng Edsa at mahabang Commonwealth, mukhang tama naman ang 160,” one Facebook user said.
“Kung most of the public can’t afford these type of public transport, edi hindi naman pala efficient ang project na to kung hindi naman pala ito pang-masa, dagdag lang lalo sa traffic. Taxpayers money down the drain again,” another user commented.
The P2P bus system, which was previously known as Express Connect, started in March 2015 as a “premium” form of express bus service that was administered by the Department of Transportation and its partner bus companies.
It was previously only available in Metro Manila’s business districts such as Makati City and Ortigas.
As of writing, P2P’s network comprises routes in different parts of the country.
Price hikes all over the world
Some online users, however, argued that the expensive fare has nothing to do with the government.
They said that other countries are also bearing the brunt of the fuel price hikes.
“Wala na tayong magagawa, di lang naman Pinas. Buong mundo ang nakararanas ng pagtaas ng pamasahe at bilihin,” one user said.