In February of this year, if I remember right, an experimental augmentation plan was initiated in the city, which saw 20 units of public utility buses plying underserved routes during peak hours in Davao City.
Our area in Catalunan Grande had always been one of those poorly-served routes. While a shortcut had long-existed between our barangay and the main highway in Bangkal, the jeeps that serviced that route only reached midway and left the other half without any real public transport, except for tricycles and single motorcycles.
For taxpayers working in the city, along with thousand others, this shortcut save them an hour at most, compared to the alternatively-longer route of passing through Mintal and Ulas, which often total to a two-hour commute to the city proper. The expansion of new housing projects in the area have likewise compounded the need for a more accessible transport, and for a time, none had been coming, till now.
This month, with the mayor’s recent announcement that, as part of a more comprehensive scheme, an additional 1,000 buses would be forthcoming, the realization of finally addressing this dilemma, and easing the worsening traffic in Davao City nears fruition.
The scheme will likewise involve the phase out of a total of 7,000 jeepneys, which in turn, will reduce the existing 130 routes to 29 bus routes, starting in year 2020. It will also include compensation packages in the form of financial and social development programs for the PUJ operators and drivers.
The move, I am sure will not sit well with some, especially for those who believe that it will mean the loss of jobs for thousands of drivers out there. However, on a more realistic note, that is the point exactly, the mathematical proportion of a thousand more vehicles clogging the streets daily, servicing an ever growing population, and the incessant demands for a rational solution to traffic.
Surely, something has got to give, as I always like to say. For the meantime, let us just continue tweaking this plan out until a more fine-tuned solution comes about. Commuters have to have their days in the sun too.
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