IT WAS a nightmare for those commuting to and from the northern portions of Davao City Friday, January 24, 2020.
Hundreds of Dabawenyos living in the area were not able to get a proper ride going to work, school, or destinations they have to be at. We saw photos on social media of crowds standing along the sidewalks in Sasa hoping to get a ride.
What comes to mind at first is either the road has been closed or there has been a strike. However, upon our interviews with the personnel from the City Transport and Traffic Management Office, the drivers, and locals, we discovered that what caused the lack of public transport in the area yesterday was the ongoing dialogue between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Davao Region and public utility vehicle drivers.
According to an office circular from the LTFRB-Davao, it held a consultation dialogue with the social development technical working group of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) at 8 a.m. Friday at the Bunawan Gym.
Considering this happened during the peak hours, some were not able to go to where they have to. Based on the interviews we did with the commuters, some opted to take a leave while some students decided to not go to school.
To cater to the needs of the commuters, the CTTMO personnel in the area had to ask some drivers of trucks if they can assist some of the stranded commuters.
The intentions of LTFRB-Davao are good as they want to talk with the drivers and how they can help them with the city about how to start the implementation of the HPBS. However, they should have anticipated what will happen.
They could have done it on a weekend considering that less would travel on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, they could have done it in batches instead of a one-time, big-time dialogue.
What happened Friday seemed to lack planning when it comes to contingency measures for the affected commuting public. This has resulted to some cancelling their errands, not being able to get to work, and students being absent from classes.
With a number of pedestrians of over a million during the weekdays, LTFRB should have conducted better planning in ensuring that there are enough PUVs plying the roads before holding a dialogue with the drivers.