Davide should have been the stronger bet against Garcia
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Nigel Paul C. Villarete (The Freeman) - May 28, 2019 - 12:00am

Up to this point we have tinkered with the nuances of public transport in terms of 1.) Speed versus distance, 2.) Capacity versus frequency, 3.) Direct or connected trips, and 4.) Intermodal transport. For city governance the goal is mobility – reliable, dependable, environmentally-sustainable, and inclusive. To the individual citizens, they add affordability, comfort, and convenience.

Last week, we clarified that being “inter-modal” is not a primary goal, and in fact, only comes into the picture when “direct services” may not be available. People will always prefer direct services, and when this is not possible and inter-connection is required, then we must plan for inter-modality, i.e., making sure the interface between different modes are as seamless as possible – like common or interconnected stations. This is to provide the commuter a choice between direct and connected trips, if available.

Which brings us to the question of choice. Many of us who have experienced the transport systems of Singapore, Hong Kong, or Tokyo know that you always have many choices in travelling from one place of the city to another. You open Google Maps, choose your origin and destination, and it will give you a lot of choices, even the time it takes. But in general, you have to provide what kind of travel you want first – such as, A.) Least distance, B.) Fastest route, C.) Least (minimum) transfers, or D.) Minimum walking.

The first one is for car owners who want to minimize on gas, the second is for those who are in a hurry. The third and fourth criteria are usually for the elderly, children, people with disability, or just anybody who wants to take it easy. Sometimes, there are other criteria like “no dirt or unpaved road” or “no toll roads.” This is something alien to us because in this country, the government wants to force what kind of travel we will endure, regardless of what each person wants or prefers. And oftentimes, it’s the people at the top who make the decision on transport modes that they wouldn’t even use themselves. It is simply imposed, oftentimes for different reasons other than what the commuter wants.

But what I believe is the worst is when government forces you to transfer when a direct service would have been possible. And this is where ordinary commuters should be vigilant and active in engaging government decisions. The ultimate goal of mobility is to give everybody the widest array of choices possible, including that of direct services, which is the traditional preference. Once government unilaterally eliminates direct (single trip) services and instead forces two or more trips, or more, from home-to-work and -versa, and compels them to “transfer” when none would have been needed, that’s the time when government has failed in its primary function to provide mobility for its people. That includes the availability to choose to just simply walking or cycling to work or school. Just because you don’t walk or cycle doesn’t mean others don’t…or shouldn’t.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT
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