Traffic mayhem

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Ma. Isabel Ongpin

Ma. Isabel Ongpin

Just wondering how many more lives must be sacrificed on our highways for the Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board to throw the book at erring bus companies, their owners particularly and their demon drivers specifically. By the way, do they have a book of rules that they enforce? Such as who gets a franchise, what standards must be met, regular inspections to see that they are kept? The paying, riding public deserves no less.

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Are we civilized when we allow our traveling public to take their lives into their hands when they ride public transportation, specially buses? I did not need to witness what happened on the SLEX last Monday to know that it was reckless and imprudent driving on a below-standard vehicle that was the cause of the horrific accident. As I pass EDSA on early weekday mornings I witness what is not a phenomenon but an everyday reality in our streets and highways. Under these circumstances I feel in immediate danger from the rampaging buses that switch lanes, speed, pick up passengers any which place, bully smaller vehicles, flout traffic rules. Size is might and license to break any rule that inconveniences their rampage through our streets. And there are hardly any enforcers to control the impunity.

Meanwhile, while transport companies (include taxis here) charge the general public what the traffic will bear, their vehicles are substandard in safety and comfort. I will not mention except in passing the criminal taxi drivers that prey on their passengers— another risk all too prevalent here. What excuse can Don Mariano Transit (hell on wheels) give for their tires that had no traction from how worn out they were? Who is Dr. Melissa Cruz, the listed owner, and what is her answer to what happened? If she, too, is the owner of Fermina Express, investigate that franchise and its vehicles too. It is definitely called for at this point of 18 deaths and numerous injured.

Blood on their hands
Excuse me, but paying for funeral costs and hospital expenses cannot and should not appease the bereaved, the wounded, the frightened and the seriously inconvenienced. And certainly not LTRFB either. I suggest for Don Mariano Transit and any other public transportation company that it owns, partly owns, has influence over, lent money to, borrowed money for, to get out of the business immediately, They have blood on their hands and there is no more proof necessary than what happened last Monday on the SLEX.

Can the owner also explain how they choose their drivers, what tests if any do they undergo, what standards if any must they meet? And how many accidents have they had? What are the working conditions, the pay scales, the hours of driving? Somewhere here lies the explanation, the cause and the reason for why their record of safety is dismal.

Don Marinao Transit, no matter how many vehicles it has (most of them not roadworthy) acts like a fly-by-night business. Take anyone who can drive, put any wreck that can move into his hands and count your profits. And what is LTFRB doing about it? How many bus lines have caused the mayhem like Don Mariano’s have they put out of business? I seriously doubt if they ever did and this does not count the ostensible suspension/closing down of a bus line for it to appear under another disguise.

If LTRFB does not implement rules, take firm action and punish the erring drivers and bus companies, stop calling yourself a Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board because that would be dishonest and unreal.

And what about SLEX that charges tolls to pass through, shouldn’t they at least monitor what is going on? It seems once the toll is paid, everyone fends for himself which gives the traffic violators in every way a free ride with no sanctions no matter what they do. No one sanctions them.

Road chaos galore
It is time to accept reality and step up to the plate. This country is in the throes of killing people riding public transportation on public highways. It is not just in Metro Manila but everywhere. In Cebu province demon drivers have been the cause of horrific accidents all over the island, particularly the mountain roads. In the Mountain Provinces, every other week a vehicle falls into a ravine causing death and damage. On Kennon Road heavy vehicles that should not be there are still there causing peril and worse to both the road and the public. In the new TPLEX segment that I passed at about 4:30 a.m. last Friday, there was a vehicle with no headlights, no tail lights, nothing to warn the rest of us that it was there in the darkness. Who was watching?

Everyday there is word of a senseless traffic accident caused by erring drivers and their dangerous vehicles. Whose watch is this? Isn’t it LTRFB’s as well as the security personnel in case of toll roads and the traffic police in the other roads?

And now for the DPWH and the road conditions that precipitate the demon drivers to throw caution, safety concerns and public service to the wind. The holidays are coming, MacArthur Highway in the north is still repairing and re-doing roads, and re-ordering traffic. It has been more than a year, maybe two years now. Long vehicle lines of one-way spilling over to the many towns before and after causing delay, tension, and road rage. The Tarlac portion near Gerona has been under roadwork since last year. Does it take that long to widen a few kilometers of road? The bridge near San Fabian on the way to Dagupan is damaged, impassable, with a traffic hazard detour, and a road crew is in slow motion more than a year after repair work was initiated. No earthquake caused the damage, just a regular typhoon, the common variety that we get regularly, worlds away from Yolanda, What was that bridge made of? Who designed it? Why did it collapse at the slightest inclement weather? And if you want to use the Camiling Road from Pangasinan, be warned: after more than a year of detours repairing whatever, the detours are still there. Keep away.

The above is just one take from one individual’s experience/observation. Believe me, there is a lot more disorder, mayhem and inexplicable inconvenience out there.

LTRFB and DPWH, as well as toll roads personnel, get your act together and face the unpalatable truth and do something about it..

miongpin@yahoo.com

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1 Comment

  1. You need to start from the bottom to get this problem sorted in this country. There isnt a single driver who drives properly here. You need to bring in a properly regulated driving test, where people need to learn the highway code, & have to take driving lessons. Make it expensive to take the test. Then you need to have the police & traffic enforcers to enforce all laws. You need a motorcycle test so they also understand the laws. Then you have higher standards of driving tests for lorries & busses. Thats what you need to do. If you dont you can still keep blaming bus companies but these stupid accidents will still occur. Also i dont know the fugures but look at how many are killed or injured whilst driving cars & or riding motorcycles. Make everyone from pedestrians to cyclists to vehicle drives responsible for their actions. I almost saw an accident today in my subdivision where a cyclist pulled straight out in front of a tricycle & the tricycle rider had to brake sharply, he blew his horn at him but the cyclist just totally ignored him. He should have knocked him off his bike that would have taught him a lesson. If i had been riding that trycicyle i would have stopped & remonstrated with him.