Fixing traffic: Jeeps eyed as feeders to bus routes

MANILA, Philippines – Is it time to take jeepneys off high-density roads? A transport official says Filipinos' main mode of public transportation will soon be transformed into "feeder vehicles" to carry commuters to bus routes.

On Wednesday, March 4, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Winston Ginez told the House committee on transportation that transport agencies are seeking to increase ridership for buses, which carry more passengers but are only patronized by 14% of commuters.

Northern Samar Representative Emil Ong noted that jeepneys, which normally carry between 18 to 20 passengers, occupy road space that could otherwise have been taken up by a bus with around 50 passengers. 

"In my opinion, two jeeps occupy the same space as one bus. So traffic is most probably caused by jeepneys," Ong said. 

Ong also asked if it was about time to start replacing jeepneys as a mode of transportation.

Citing the Metro Manila rationalization study of 2014, Ginez said that the transportation department and the LTFRB had identified high-density routes, and are planning to transform jeepneys into feeder vehicles.

"What we'll do is reroute the jeepneys to become feeder vehicles. What this means is that from the smaller routes, they will pick up passengers going to the bus routes. This is also so that they won't lose their means of livelihood," Ginez added.

The LTFRB chief also said that based on their studies, most commuters – 46% – go around Metro Manila by jeepney, 32% travel by private vehicle, 14% take the bus, and 8% use the railway system.

During the House meeting, Ginez also presented details of the EDSA express bus service, which will have its pilot run on March 16.

The express bus aims to make travel faster by making only one stop or two from starting point to destination. It also aims to help passengers easily transfer to the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines. – Rappler.com