Here’s a thought: Maybe public transportation should be looked at from a business perspective, instead of just as a form of income for operators.
This is what Department of Transportation (DOTr) assistant secretary for road transportation and infrastructure Mark De Leon emphasized during a press briefing yesterday. According to the government official, this is how the system can make the riding public’s well-being a priority.
“The country's transport system must be treated as an organized transportation business than an individual operator’s livelihood,” the DOTr said in a statement, adding that through this mindset, it can “proritize the safety and convenience” of Filipino commuters.
“Mahirap na sabihin mo na this is a source of livelihood,” De Leon said. “Kasi nga, number one: Binigyan ka ng estado ng prangkisa to operate a public transport service. It should be treated as a public transport service instead of a livelihood business.”
The official also stressed the importance of an operator’s financial capability. According to him, buses and jeepneys who figure in road accidents must have to means to pay for the insurance of those involved in any mishap.
“Kung ihihirit natin na livelihood and you’re not financially capable, how can you ensure na may pera ka for the maintenance of your unit? How can you ensure that may pera ka for the payment of the insurance of vehicles? How can you even ensure na may pera ka para sa garahe?” De Leon asked during the press briefing.
“Kaya ang nangyayari, yung mga jeepneys natin, nakapark na lang sa gilid-gilid ng kalsada. Kasi walang garahe. Kasi nga tiningnan ‘to as a means of livelihood than public transport.”
The man makes sense. So, do you think a change in operators’ mindset can bring about a lasting solution to our public transportation mess?
Update: In a later statement, the DOTr clarified that assistant secretary De Leon meant no offense toward PUV operators and drivers. It added: "We want our drivers to be salaried and drive vehicles that aren’t health or environment hazards, we want them to drive just on a specified number of hours so they will have more time for their families, we want our operators to have higher income and have better access to funding, and we want our commuters to be safe, comfortable, and feel dignified on their daily commute. "