Trip length and trip time/duration
STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul C. Villarete (The Freeman) - August 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Home-to-work trips Part 2
How far is your workplace from home? Chances are, you don’t know exactly, and, you don’t give the answer in kilometers. We always say 45 minutes, or any other measure of time, and not the distance. Then we add “by car,” or by jeepney, bus, train, etc. And a few of us, this writer included, have the luxury to answer, “20 minutes, by bicycle,” though we fervently hope the tribe increases! We measure distance for home-to-work trips by time.

Last week, we revisited the concept of person-trips in home-to-work trips. While a few privileged ones boast of direct door-to door service with their cars, the greater masses use public transportation, with first-mile-last-mile (FMLM) modes of walking, biking, motorcycles, tricycles, or trisikads, and sometimes with transfers along the way. These FMLM trips and transfers take a lot of the time, too, and may even be longer than the trips in public transport vehicles. Ask those who take use public transport in Metro Manila and Cebu.

Let’s look at a two-ride home-to-work trip. It might typically be broken down like this: 1.) walk from home to the jeepney stop; 2.) wait; 3.) first jeepney ride; 4.) walk to the next jeepney stop; 5.) wait; 6.) second jeepney ride; 7.) walk to workplace. Many would only have a one-ride trip, which takes four phases, but some may have three rides, which will take 10. And, the FMLM/transfers might not be walking, but by habal-habal, trisikads, etc. Do the math, you’ll find out that a significant part of your travel is spent not on the vehicle ride itself, but walking and waiting. This is time you forever lost each day, and cumulatively economic losses for society. And this is because of poor, inefficient public transportation coupled with the increase of car population which caused the congestion in the first place.

Take the Metro Manila MRT-3 as an example. Ask those using it how long it takes from the time they arrive at the station to the time they board the train? Aha! – you just need to see those long lines you see on TV every morning, snaking from the platform on the 4th level down the stairs to sidewalk outside the station. I bet you time spent at the station is longer than the time the MRT travels between the stations. But this is the same everywhere, with the buses in EDSA, and the jeepneys here in Cebu.

The bottom line is the transportation of people every day, especially that of going to work, consist not only of the actual time you ride in any vehicle. What makes it comfortable, even cozy, healthy, or enjoyable, and not a daily nightmarish torment to suffer, depends on a holistic provision of policies and services, and not just infrastructure. And most importantly, the goal is to provide for those who can’t buy their own, which can represent roughly 80 percent of the populace. That’s why it’s called public transportation in the first place. (To be continued)

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