With the implementation of the Integrated Bus Terminal Project at the Coastal Mall for southern provincial-bound passengers, many of my colleagues at work take the van/fx at the Mall of Asia. The new system prohibits provincial buses from entering the city and has designated a terminal to load and unload provincial passengers. This has caused problems for and complaints from both provincial passengers and bus operators. The passengers complain that they have to take multiple rides to reach their destination. The bus operators don't quite like the strict policy of dispatch, giving them only five minutes to load passengers. In fact, bus drivers staged a protest yesterday leaving commuters stranded for the most part of the morning. On one hand, the good news, in my view, is that there are fewer buses on the streets of Manila, no more crowding at Roxas Boulevard corner EDSA. The AUVs and vans are, of course, exempt and thus enjoy the freedom to ply the city from any point of Luzon. Like me, most would rather take one straight journey (and it can be cheaper, too) than hop on and hop off several vehicles even though buses are slightly more comfortable than the vans/fx.
|At the Integrated Bus Terminal at the Coastal Mall in Paranaque|
While I acknowledge that taking buses is more comfortable than taking the FX, my choice is still the latter. I still take it knowing that my knees will touch someone else's when I face that someone, or that I will have to settle for a small share of the seat. But complain I shall not do.
Yet, I have to understand the "in-out, in-out" dynamics in public utility vehicles, particularly in FX. I find this an interesting topic to observe as it covers gender, age, and physical factors.
Just what dictates who gets to take a full space in a room full of passengers in the FX?
More than two decades of commuting could not give a me a definite answer to my questions. I do have observations, however. More than anything, I think it's one's comfort that makes a passenger claim his/her well-deserved butt space. It is with this thought that I look forward to having slender girls as my co-passengers in the FX. Usually the person who is last to enter has the unfortunate distinction of being 'out.' More women than men tend to go 'out' without being forced to do so; men are likely to squeeze their seatmates while women don't want to be squeezed. I suppose, at times, there is powerplay in the game; the passengers who have their right share of space assert themselves, knowing perfectly well that only three and a half people could comfortably sit in the car. The 'half' passenger must know his or her place. Young ones with their headsets on are likely to ignore everyone else and be oblivious to the rest as long they are seated properly and enjoying their music. Although I see people ask that they be let out if they cannot sit properly, most still go on with their journey uncomplaining. Those who try to make a big fuss would get comments such as, "Mag-taxi ka na lang (Take a cab)" or "Bumili ka ng sarili mong sasakyan (Go buy your own car)."
Those Asian Utility Vehicles can accommodate four passengers in the backseat regardless of the shape and size of the passengers. THEY MUST ALL FIT. Through the years, I have seen different models of cars, not exactly AUVs that are made to be "FXs." There are now vans that are being used. AUV Express as it is known has been gaining popularity among the riding public. The FXs, Revos, HiAces provide some comfort, airconditioning, and terminal to terminal service to the growing middle class who do not wish to take the jeeps, ordinary buses or multiple trips. The FX riding public has developed patience, understanding, apathy and selfishness all at the same time. Who is to blame? Conditions, presented to them day in day out, make them the way they are.
Does this mean that car-owning individuals are a different breed of their own?
I am not so sure about that, although one thing I am sure of is that we all take the same road. It is how we deal on the road that spells the difference, whether you are in a car, taxi, bus or FX.
|Random picture on the plane. Unrelated photo.|