If it’s the Christmas season already and you’re stuck for hours in horrendous traffic at all times of the day whether you’re’ motorist or a commuter, you can probably be forgiven for blaming no one else but government planners for their egregious failure to solve Metro Manila’s public transportation and mobility problems.
In fact, if an international study called 2022 Urban Mobility Index conducted by the think-tank Oliver Wyman Forum, in partnership with the University of California in Berkeley in the United States, is to be believed, Metro Manila is among the cities with the worst public transportation system in the world.
The study looked at the public transport situation in 60 cities.
These were evaluated based on their readiness for future mobility disruptors, taking into consideration how public transport systems are being managed and used, and what efforts are being exerted to build more sustainable mobility ecosystems.
The bad news is that we ranked at No. 56 over-all.
Here are the top 10 countries with the worst public transport systems: (1) Cairo; (2) Abu Dhabi; (3) Casablanca; (4) Quito; (5) Cape Town; (6) Manila; (7) Johannesburg; (8) Riyadh; (9) Nairobi; (10) Jeddah.
Aside from having one of the worst public transit systems in the whole wide world, Manila also ranked low in the following categories of the index: 58th in urban mobility readiness, and 48th in sustainable mobility.
Here’s what the report said: “The potential domino effect of a desolate public transit system is staggering: economic fallout from poor revenue and lost jobs to operate it, increased congestion associated with more private travel, likely more road fatalities, and worse noise, light, and air pollution.”
And the report’s conclusions should have more than enough for the DOTr and other agencies to chew on while they sit in their cushy offices: “Public transit is the most efficient and sustainable way for cities to transport large groups of people compared to private means of transit, and an efficiently run system can not only encourage workers and tourists to travel through cities but can provide more equal opportunity access to additional mobility modes, jobs, shopping centers, and more.”
It is lamentable, as the report pointed out, that Metro Manila and other cities failed to take advantage of the disruption caused by the pandemic to improve their public transport systems.
Now that the health situation has started to ease up, it is time for the pubic and private sectors to tackle mobility challenges, particularly in mass transportation, consistent with a clear program for resilient and sustainable economic rebound.
At any rate, which cities emerged as the top 10 with the best public transit systems in the world?
These are: (1) Hong Kong; (2) Zurich; (3) Stockholm; (4) Singapore; (5) Helsinki; (6) Oslo; (7) Tokyo; (8) Paris; (9) Berlin; (10) London.
So there. And don’t you just wish you would rather live in any of the top 10 cities with the best public transport systems?