THEY were at it again. And by “they,” I mean drivers of public utility jeeps (PUJs) and tricycles in Mandaue City.
Last Monday, the group, which was headed by Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston), gathered in front of the City Hall to air their grievances and to seek the assistance of the City Government.
Apparently, they're losing sleep over the joint administrative order of the DOTC and the LTFRB raising the penalties for traffic violations and the rising cost of oil. And oh, the City's intensified campaign against overloading tricycles, and “corporatization (sic) and privatization of mass transport” also do not sit well with them.
(The last bit was not in the article of Sun.Star Cebu's Flornisa M. Gitgano, but it was on the placard carried by one of the rallyists, who was captured on camera.)
However, I think Glenn Antigua, Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue chief for operations, was on to them.
He believes the real purpose behind the rally was to protest the City's plan to apprehend tricycles that use extension chairs that are attached to the entrance.
Considering the group's penchant for selfishness, I've no reason not to agree with Antigua.
Anyway, this is not why I'm bringing this up. My beef with these transport groups has always been their lack of concern for the riding public that they're supposed to serve. All they care about is the money they bring home.
I know, I know. It's their livelihood and it's only normal that they'd want to maximize their earning potential. But not to the detriment of the end-user.
Some of the drivers drive with wild abandon, zigzagging through traffic like there was no tomorrow, while their passengers hang on for dear life. And what happens if an accident occurs? Do you think the driver picks up the tab at the hospital?
Then there are those who cut trips. Even though it's a traffic violation, some drivers have no qualm veering off their franchise route to cut their trip short. Of course, when they get caught and find out they could lose their license or pay a penalty that ranges from P3,000 to P6,000, they cry foul.
And how do I know all these?
Well, I hardly drive these days. I don't want to risk losing my sanity trying to cope with the metro's current traffic situation so I take public transportation. And since I'm too cheap to take a cab, I ride the jeepney.
To be honest, it's really like being caught between a rock and a hard place. I'd rather not do either. Drive or commute to work that is. But it's not like I could walk or jog from Banilad to P. del Rosario every day or any day for that matter.
Suffice it to say, if groups like Piston want to gain my sympathy, they should show a tad of concern for their passengers' welfare.
And to that guy carrying the placard last Monday, mass transportation is already in private hands. After all, PUJ drivers like him are not employees of the State.