"Critical to this effort is the overhaul of the LTFRB."
The COVID-10 pandemic has accentuated the need to operate an efficient and more disciplined mass transportation system in the metropolis. It may also be time for the government to rationalize the operations of buses, jeepneys and taxicabs serving Metro Manila's commuters.
Buses, jeepneys and taxicabs are an undisciplined lot in the capital region. They pick up passengers along major thoroughfares at will, worsening the traffic situation and posing dangers to both commuters and drivers of both public and private vehicles.
The bad traffic situation in Metro Manila partly stems from the absence of central stations that will serve as the main transit hubs of commuters and public transportation vehicles. Such stations will rationalize transport routes and offer a more orderly option in dispatching passengers to their destination.
Herding the major public transportation modes in key central stations will reduce chokepoints in major urban roads and hopefully regulate the number of units plying at a certain period, especially during rush hours. They will prevent provincial buses from entering the inner parts of the Metro Manila and instill discipline among the commuters.
Critical to the rationalization of the transportation sector is the overhaul of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. The LTFRB has been granting franchises left, right and center to buses, jeepneys and taxicabs without regard to the infrastructure limitations of Metro Manila.
The government may also take this opportunity to push the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program harder. Launched by the Department of Transportation in 2017, the program aims to make public transportation system efficient and environmentally friendly supposedly this year. It will specifically phase out jeepneys, buses and other public utility vehicles that are at least 15 years old and replace them with safer, more comfortable and more environmentally-friendly alternatives over the next three years.
Another key to the improvement of the transportation sector is the construction of additional railway systems and the upgrade of operating networks.
Mass transportation and the construction of more roads will significantly address the traffic mess in the capital region. But rationalizing the transportation system at the same time will be equally effective.