So the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has just dropped a damning bombshell in the form of Memorandum Circular No. 2019-025. Very briefly, it simply says that UV Express vehicles are no longer allowed to pick up or drop off passengers at intermediate points in between their terminals. Obviously, this is causing the commuting public to go ape and rant like hell on social media.
The agency says that this new memorandum circular is just an amendment to a previous one. According to MC No. 2009-019, UV Express vehicles could load and unload passengers within a 2km radius of their terminals. However, operators were not very compliant with this. They were getting fares anywhere they pleased, which was the reason the LTFRB had to lay down the proverbial iron fist in making sure this practice stopped.
So what does this mean for you and me? As a commuter who lives right smack in the middle of two UV Express terminals, I basically lose one of my options (or my only option) for getting back home in a safe and convenient manner. Not to mention one that would not have me bathing in sweat from wearing a barong and a pair of slacks. I no longer have any other choice but to catch a packed bus, which is nowhere near as comfortable and agile in traffic as a Toyota Hiace. So yes, I understand why commuters are so livid about this.
On the other hand, I also see the reason why the regulatory agency would want to take a strong stance against UV Express operations as they are now. Erring drivers simply stop in the middle of the road just to load and unload passengers, which obviously disrupts the flow of traffic and makes life miserable for everyone. Also, it’s the freaking rule. No matter how dumb the 2km radius stipulated in the memorandum circular sounds, everyone is required to follow it.
Erring UV Express drivers simply stop in the middle of the road just to load and unload passengers, which obviously disrupts the flow of traffic
As with everything in life, there is always room for improvement. While the LTFRB’s new MC is a step in the right direction as far as alleviating traffic congestion is concerned, it’s a crude step nonetheless. Instead of the point-to-point setup that UV Express vehicles are being forced to follow, why not put a series of loading/unloading areas along the way? This organized system of stops will allow us to continue benefitting from the air-conditioned comfort of the UV Express van without having to make the vehicle stop at random points along the route.
But the biggest change needs to start within each of us—we who are warriors of this battlefield called Philippine public transportation. I judge people who order UV Express drivers to unload at the most inconvenient of places—such as two lanes away from the sidewalk. It’s an act of selfishness that puts other people’s lives in danger.
We always marvel at the ability of Filipinos to behave properly in foreign cities like Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul. We’re very much okay with having to walk a couple of blocks from the bus stop to our hotel or place of interest. If we applied the same discipline back home, Metro Manila would be much less of a hassle to commute around.