Tren para sa masa

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By Jun Ledesma


Monday, December 16, 2013

THE proposal of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to establish a railway system that would link Lasang in the north and the farthest barangay in the south has met some vehement protest from jeepney operators. The usual line is "makulban mi of kaldero niana". Meaning jeepney drivers and operators will lose their means of livelihood.

Those are audible voices of protest from a transport sector that speak only for their own interest. Actually I haven't heard of any hint that the city will eliminate PUJ operations and for that matter disallow the presence of the ubiquitous pedicabs and tricycles - legitimately or illegitimately operating in the now highly urbanized Davao City.

Let's face it. Everything is evolving in Davao City except the transport sector which is dominated by multicabs which, I would say without hesitation and fear of protestation, are illegally smuggled in the port of Davao. I will delve on this in another column. The present transport operators were given franchises for their Jurassic units to operate. But the riding public does not deserve this antiquity and iniquity. The masses deserve more in terms of comfort and safety the moment they embark on their journey on board a "make do" assembled chop-chop multicabs, tricycles and pedicabs.

The train service will give the masa a choice. Apart from the comfort and speed of travel Mayor Duterte's transport concept will address various social problems. The reason why squatters proliferate in the urban center is on account of distance and cost of transport from dueling places to their work area. If efficient and cheap cost of transport is available there is simply no reason why people who live under Bankerohan Bridge and vulnerable places like the shorelines and mountainside would abhor the idea of living in a healthier environment in the rural area serviced by the commuter train.

The jeeps and pedicabs will service feeder roads. The pedicabs will eventually have to go. The masa does not deserve these. It is a transport system that has become not only an eyesore but a veritable bane to the riding public.

Train service will force a modicum of discipline among commuters. It's so unlike the present system where jeepneys stop anywhere to take passengers and passengers to disembark in any place the wish to. It's pandemonium. You do not see this in most of our neighboring countries anymore. Commuter trains have effectively addressed traffic and population congestions.

Jeepney operators and drivers can howl at the top of their voices in protest but the hundreds of thousands of riding passengers who have been suffering and enduring the present mode of transport that we have are celebrating in silence. Go for it Mayor. Let's realize your dream, our dream of TREN PARA SA MASA.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 17, 2013.


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