Metro Manila public transportation among the worst in the world: study

Franco Luna - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila's public transportation and urban mobility still fall behind most of the world after both ranked among the worst cities across the globe on these categories in a new study. 

The results of the 2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index released earlier this week placed the Philippine capital as 58th in "urban mobility readiness" among the 60 cities studied around the world with the worst public transit systems. Manila also ranked 48th for Sustainable Mobility and 56th for Public Transit.

The study by think tank Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley ranked 60 cities around the world based on “mobility readiness," determined by the quality of its public transit systems and other factors like commute speed, affordability and waiting time.

"Road transport faces challenges including the poor quality of roads in the metropolitan area and the limited regional connectivity provided by the national road network. Manila is congested and polluted, but a low level of car ownership should help prevent these problems from worsening," it said of Manila. 

"Several modes of transportation are available in Manila, including jeepneys and some metro lines. Linkages to active mobility are provided by permissive transit rules towards bikes, as well as significant cycling infrastructure. Despite these multimodal strengths, Manila's public transit system has room for improvement in speed, wait times, station density and affordability."

Photos of long queues outside transport terminals are becoming commonplace on social media once more as more schools and industries transition to on-site operations. Commuter and transport groups warned that the transport crisis of 2019 can see a repeat if supply doesn't increase in the coming months. 

The Marcos administration's transportation department has largely invested in continuity from the Duterte administration's rail infrastructure projects. It has also pushed for extensions of the free ride programs. However, a significant boost in transport capacity remains to be seen.

In the study, the Philippines was also the only country in the Asia-Pacific region to find itself in the bottom 10 group, which the study labels as “lagging cities.” But its regional neighbors in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo were recognized among the “leading cities,” ranking first, fourth, and seventh respectively.

“As cities tackle these issues… they should make modern mobility systems a core part of their strategies,” the study said. “Efficient and equitable mobility networks are key engines of urban vitality and sustainability.”

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