Commuter group: Most Filipino commuters say waiting time too long, PUV supply lacking

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Commuter group: Most Filipino commuters say waiting time too long, PUV supply lacking
Jeepney drivers on June 25, 2020 check their engine at Tandang Sora Jeepney Terminal in Quezon City.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The majority of commuters in the Greater Metro Manila Area believe they're waiting too long to get a ride because the supply of public utility vehicles on the road is insufficient for the current passenger demand, survey results by transport advocacy network The Passenger Forum suggest.

According to the survey results sent to reporters Tuesday morning, 79% of the respondents agree that their waiting time to get a ride is usually too long while 96% disagree that the number of PUVs on the road, including both jeepneys and buses, is enough to service commuters.

The informal survey of 100 respondents was conducted online from July 16 to 17. 

“This number confirms what we regularly see on the roads and sidewalks especially during rush hours," Primo Morillo, TPF Convener, said.

"Of the remaining 21%, five own a bicycle or e-scooter and another four are neutral or can’t decide whether their waiting is too long or not. With that, we can infer that there is just about 12 percent of commuters who are satisfied with their current waiting time.”

Earlier, DOTr Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor claimed in his recommendations to Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista that available transportation should be "sufficient...provided that operators deploy 90% of their PUV units."

The DOTr Road Sector went on to recommend "improving compliance to Service Plans, particularly peak hour deployment at 90 to 100 percent of PUVs authorized." 

However, the overall supply and deployment of PUV units, particularly those under service contracts, has long been hampered by the fuel crisis along with the historically sluggish rollout of fuel subsidies and payouts for Libreng Sakay. 

READ: DOTr vows sufficient transport for students by looking at 'compliance,' free rides

Of note, Morillo also told Philstar.com in a text message that 60% of the respondents use multiple transport modes out of the three options in the survey. Only 40% chose just one transport mode as being part of their daily commute. 

Morillo asserted that the survey results affirm sentiments that there are not enough PUVs on the road and that the government should allow more PUVs to ply routes through the revival of past franchises and granting of new ones for underserved areas.

The TPF survey also found that:

  • 97% of commuters want more trains and train lines
  • 96% believe that our sidewalks are cramped and narrow
  • 93% prefer more infrastructure for commuter protection such as waiting sheds and integrated terminals
  • 88% desire interconnectivity of various transport modes and routes.

The top five transport modes are traditional jeepneys (52%), buses (29%), trains (18%), UV Express (11%), and modern jeepneys (10%). 

The survey also found out that 7% of commuters use a bicycle or e-scooter to work while 12% said they also walk on the way to their place of work or in between rides.

Most of the 100 respondents reside in Quezon City (22%), CAMANAVA (19%) and Manila (17%) while their place of work is in Makati-Mandaluyong-San Juan area (27%), Quezon City (24%), and Pasig-Marikina-Pateros-Taguig (20%). 

The Passenger Forum has long been warning of another "shock" in the commuting crisis in Metro Manila with face-to-face classes coming soon to boost the demand for public transport on the road. 

“We hope these findings will guide our new government on how they can make a difference in the lives of ordinary Filipino commuters,” Morillo said in his statement.

"We are counting on DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista to ensure meaningful change in our transport system and we believe he is on the right track given his first few pronouncements as the head of DOTr."

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