Showing posts with label jeepneys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jeepneys. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Commuting

I must admit that the past 4 weeks or so that I have been commuting between home and office has been a liberating experience. I guess it is similar to one leaving the cell phone at home and finds out that the "distractions" of having to check you cell for text messages or silencing it when an unexpected or unwelcome call is received are suddenly inexistent. It is also similar to when one leaves his watch and though at first conscious of something missing from his wrist, eventually forgets the timepiece while also being set free from checking the time every so often.

I did commute when I was in high school and then during college and grad school. I knew the peak periods particularly because I tried my best commuting when it wasn't so difficult to get a ride. These days I found that it's pretty much the same as when I last took public transport on a regular basis. I do miss the trains in Japan but riding the jeepney everyday is both an experience and an adventure. Pity those who dismiss the jeepney as a utilitarian mode. It might not be mass transit in the mold of the LRTs, MRTs and the modern bus services but it serves its purpose and may be considered safer than riding a bus these days.

There are, of course, exceptions to the jeepneys I prefer to ride. They call them the "patok" jeepneys and they seem to have thrown caution to the wind as they speed up and weave through traffic with stereo systems at full volume. Never mind that the music is incomprehensible, drowned by the unnatural bass or that the artist seemed to be screaming a demonic language. Never mind that the conductor is somewhere outside, hanging on a beam while continuously hitting the vehicle on the roof to communicate with the driver. I guess there's one application of the Morse code in modern times.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Matrix

While riding a jeepney on my way to the office this morning, I noticed the fare matrix hanging from the ceiling just behind a front seat passenger's head. It was an old Taytay-Cubao jeepney, one that I may have ridden on when I was still a college student commuting between our home in Cainta and K-Mart, the old UP-Katipunan jeepney terminal. I was curious enough to check how much it cost now for my old commute and was not much surprised to see the amount to be 14.50 pesos. Back in the late 80's I only paid 2.50 pesos for the same 10-kilometer ride from our subdivision gate to K-Mart. And that should have been 2.25 pesos if the driver even bothered to charge a student's rate. I also remember that the Katipunan jeepney ride at the time cost 1.00 peso (the minimum fare for the first 4 kilometers) while an IKOT jeepney ride was 75 centavos. Time really flies by when were so preoccupied by many things and inflation seems to set it pretty quickly, too. I guess, it's our turn telling younger people how much fare cost when we were their age as well as how much a bottle of Coke or a piece of pandesal cost back then. Our parents did so when we were young and even now, reminding us that a peso could get them by a couple of days since a bottle of softdrinks cost only 10 centavos and you could get a decent meal for 25 centavos. Back then drinkable water was probably free and I still couldn't believe that it would be in my generation that we would be buying bottled water when back in the 80's my mother would shrug off the Perriers and Evians in the groceries as something not at all having any demand here. Life goes on...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thoughts on a SONA day

Every now and again I am reminded why I opt to drive to work rather than take public transportation. True, I am an advocate of public transport over private car use but that advocacy is anchored on the public transport being safe and comfortable. Efficiency is another thing as people can argue that efficiency can be equated to speed. And for these people, many probably would exchange speed for safety and comfort.

This morning, the driver of the jeepney I rode from the LRT 2 station in Santolan seemed to be a frustrated airplane pilot and intent on reaching Cubao in 5 minutes (that's the reasonable time in takes to reach Barangka, Marikina from Santolan). Nevermind that there were no traffic jams because it was only 6:00AM and there was the fact that classes at all levels were suspended in the Metro due to today being the day the President of this country deliver her final (and a lot of people have their fingers crossed) State of the Nation Address. This was the kind of driving that brings a lot of people together when the driver remembers that the vehicle is equipped with brakes.

To be fair, the ride from Katipunan to UP was safer if not more comfortable considering that a 16-seater vehicle was being loaded at the terminal as if it were an 18-seater. The result being the last few passengers having only half the space for one's ass to be seated. Aside from that, travel was okay considering that Ateneo and Miriam generated vehicles were absent from Katipunan. I was about to conclude that Ateneans were still in shock after being soundly defeated in yesterday's Battle of Katipunan.

This brings me to the subject of grading our transportation system...remembering that only last Saturday, I was asked the question of what grade to give this administration. The producers of the segment wanted to use a grade school report card approach to assessing this administration's performance based on its promises of SONAs past. Particularly mentioned was the battlecry BEAT THE ODDS - that personally I find quite amusing in its construction (read: pilit na pilit).

To focus solely on transport infrastructure while neglecting to check whether the root causes of problems are addressed completely misses the point in as far as governance is concerned. True, we lack the basic infrastructure to ensure efficient movement of people and goods in this country but it is this basic infrastructure that is exclude from the grading. What is included are grand projects that are the SCTEXes, the nautical highways and the airports of international standard that were constructed during her term and probably made not a few people wealthier. What are not mentioned are the transport systems inappropriate for growing cities, the farm to market roads and the novelty transport modes that keep appearing on TV documentaries. Damang-dama ba natin ang progreso? Well, my overall grade if anyone should ask me is a passing mark...77...almost pasang awa and mind you, the palakol (as my father refers to the sevens) is quite symbolic not only of the trees that were sacrificed during relentless road widening but also of what needs to be done by 2010 and by means of an electoral exercise. Guess!