Transport secretary says he’s ‘willing to’ try public transport to understand commuter woes

Image: DOTR / John Michael Rodriguez (Facebook)
Image: DOTR / John Michael Rodriguez (Facebook)

Newly appointed Department of Transportation secretary Jaime Bautista said that he and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chief Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil are “willing to ride” public transport to fully understand commuters’ problems. His statement comes amid a chorus of complaints about the increasingly awful commuter problem in the metro that has been worsened by skyrocketing fuel prices.

“To be honest, I’ve seen passengers’ struggles just by looking at the lines. But I’m willing to ride these buses,” Bautista said in Filipino at a press briefing, adding that he had talked to Garafil and invited the chairwoman to ride both bus and jeepney — two of the most common modes of public transportation in Manila.

“She said she’s game,” he added.

In past months, videos of hordes of commuters lining up for the dwindling numbers of buses plying the roads, as well as stories of jeepney operators and drivers halting operations due to exorbitant pump prices, have been making the rounds, demonstrating how the capital’s long-standing transport woes have been compounded by global market pressures.

READ: Queues of commuters fill EDSA, Metro Manila roads amid latest fuel price hike (VIDEO)
While it is interesting to note that the agency chiefs tasked with heading up these bodies aren’t already intimately knowledgeable about the commuter problem, their willingness to learn at least makes them better than some others who have demonstrated that they are completely out of touch with the public transport situation.

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