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On commuting characteristics in Metro Manila – Part 2

Late last month, I wrote some comments about a recent survey conducted by a group advocating for improved public transport services in Metro Manila. In that post I stated that perhaps its not a lack of public transport vehicles but that they are not traveling fast enough to go around. Simply, the turnaround times for these vehicles are too long and that’s mainly due to congestion. But how do we translate the discussion into something of quantities that will allow us to understand what is really happening to road-based public transport.

As an example and so that we have some numbers to refer to, allow me to use data from a study we conducted in 2008. Following are a summary of data we collected on jeepneys operating in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas.

Route Class Coverage Distance Distance traveled per day, km
Short 5 kilometers or less 68.75
Medium 6 – 9 kilometers 98.24
Long 10 – 19 kilometers 111.22
Extra Long 20 kilometers & above 164.00

[Source: Regidor, Vergel & Napalang, 2009, Environment Friendly Paratransit: Re-Engineering the Jeepney, Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, Vol. 7.]

Coverage distance refers to the one-way distance between origins and destinations. If we used the averages for the coverage distances for each route class, we can obtain an estimate of the number of round trips made by jeepneys for each route class. We assume the following average round-trip distances for each: short = 3.5 x 2 = 7km; medium = 7.5 x 2 = 15km; long = 14.5 x 2 = 29km; and extra long = 50 km. The last is not at all unreasonable considering, for example, that the Antipolo-Cuba (via Sumulong) route is about 22km, one way, and there are certainly other routes longer than this.

The number of round trips can then be estimated as: short = 68.75/7 = 9.82 or 10 roundtrips/day; medium = 98.24/15 = 6.54 or 6.5 roundtrips/day; long = 111.22/29 = 3.84 or 4 roundtrips/day; and extra long = 164/50 = 3.28 or 3 roundtrips/day. Do these numbers make sense? These are just estimates from 2008/2009. Perhaps everyone would be familiar with certain routes for their regular commutes and the number of roundtrips made by jeepneys (or buses or UV express) there then and now. Short routes like those of the UP Ikot jeepneys might have more roundtrips per day compared to other “short” route jeepneys since there is practically no congestion all day along the Ikot route. It would be worse in the case of others especially those running along the busiest corridors like Ortigas Ave., Marcos Highway, Commonwealth, Espana Avenue, Shaw Boulevard and others. If you factor current travel speeds into the equation then it can be pretty clear how these vehicles are not able to come back to address the demand for them.

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Departure Part 2

This is the last part of the feature on the Davao International Airport. Here are the last batch of photos I took of the airport departure areas.

Spacious departure level containing the airline check-in counters

Passengers wait for their check-in times and counter for travel tax payments

Passengers with their luggage filing into the terminal

View of the airline check-in counters from the escalator

Another view of the airline check-in counters and the departure area. This photo also shows the shops at the second level. 

View of the terminal entrance from the escalator

Another view of the ground floor area showing the airline counters and the escalators and stairs to the departure level lounges

After clearing the final security check, passengers pass through this corridor towards the departure lounge and boarding gates

Passengers waiting for their boarding calls.

Coming up soon are photos of Changi (Singapore) and Bandaranaike (Sri Lanka) airports. I haven’t been to Singapore in 7 years and it was my first time to go to Sri Lanka so I made sure to take a lot of photos at those airports.

EASTS 2019 Conference

The 13th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS 2019) is currently underway. This conference is hosted by the domestic society of Sri Lanka from September 9-11, 2019. The conference was almost canceled or relocated due to the safety and security concerns following the bombings in Colombo last April. After assurances by the organisers plus the full support from government, the conference was decided to push through in Colombo.

Backdrop of the opening program

Delegates from the Philippines pose with EASTS President Prof. Tetsuo Yai and other friends from Japan

More information on the conference and others about the domestic society may be found on the EASTS homepage, which also has a link to the organizers’ website.

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Departure Part 1

To continue on the series on Davao’s international airport, here are a few photos on the airport upon our departure last week.

Taxi stand at the airport There are two lanes here along which taxis are queued to pick-up passengers. The other two lanes to the right in the photo are for dropping-off passengers.

Passengers walking towards the terminal. Those with lots of luggage may avail of the porter services. The porter assists you until the check-in process.

Driveway for private vehicles and VIPs

Typical scene right after the first security check at the airport

I will be completing this series with another post on this airport soon. Meanwhile, I am preparing for a trip to Sri Lanka via Singapore. That means more photos of airports. I have not been to Singapore in a while. The last one was in 2012 when Changi still had a budget terminal (terminal for low-cost carriers like Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways) and I have not been to Sri Lanka at all. And so I am looking forward to there travels and will be sharing the experiences through photos and some narratives in future posts.

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Arrival Part 2

This is a continuation of the post on the Davao International Airport. I made sure to take photos upon our arrival as I haven’t been to Davao in a while. So here’s a second set of photos on the airport.

Upon exiting the terminal, one is greeted by a spacious are with covered walkway towards the taxi stand and the parking area. 

A view of the sidewalk and path to the departure wing of the terminal. Note the signs indicating the airline offices nearby.

Crossing to the taxi stands and pick-up areas

A look back to the terminal building

Driveway for private vehicles picking-up or dropping-off passengers at the terminal

Taxi stands at the terminal. These are taxis picking-up passengers.

Queue at the taxi stand

The taxis on the other lanes are those dropping-off passengers at the terminal. There are two lanes each for taxis dropping-off or picking-up passengers.

Passengers are given by airport security personnel a small sheet of paper where the information on the taxis are written. These are for future reference or use in case there is an issue or concern such as things left on the taxis.

Taxi bearing a sticker of Hirna, a popular taxi hailing app in Davao. This homegrown company gives good competition to the industry leader Grab. I thought that we probably need more of these than Grab Cars.

 

I have always admired taxi operations in Davao. My experience there since my first time to visit the city is that it was easy to get a taxi and their drivers generally follow rules and regulations. The system in Davao seems to be effective in encouraging drivers to be honest and obedient to traffic rules and regulations.

More on the Davao International Airport soon!

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Arrival Part 1

I have not been to Davao for some time now. I think the last time was over 6 years ago at a time when there was still no inkling of its mayor becoming the Philippine President. In fact, that was the time he was Vice Mayor to his daughter who was mayor the last time I was in the city. And so I was curious how it was in the city where certainly the popularity of the First Family should be at the highest in the land. Note that aside from the President, the first daughter is again Mayor, a son is Vice Mayor and another son is Congressman. But no worries for the DDS among my readers, I will not talk about politics in this post. I will just be sharing photos of the airport and some commentaries here and there.

View of the airport terminal as we deplaned

A look back at the Airbus 330 jet that brought us to Davao

Passengers walking towards the baggage claim area, which is on the ground floor of the terminal

Passengers using either the escalator or the stairs to the baggage claim area

Passengers walking towards the baggage claim area pass by an area where sometimes quarantine is performed and people step on a mat that’s treated vs. foot and mouth disease (FMD).

Porters line up to welcome arriving passengers and offer their assistance

Information desk at the arrival area

Baggage carousels – there were only two for domestic flights

We arrived in time for the last days of the city’s Kadayawan Festival

Passengers surround the carousel to await their checked-in luggage

There is a screen informing passengers that their baggage are being unloaded. I thought it would have been helpful if Philippine airports provide more details like how its done in other countries. In the latter, they usually announce when the first and last bags are on the carousel for specific flights.

Policemen performing musical numbers at the airport terminal is a pleasing sight and sound and is certainly an effective P.R. initiative for the PNP and the city.

Another look at the still crowded carousel area. It took a while for our luggage to come out.

Hotel desk at the terminal for those inquiring about accommodations or perhaps their airport transfer services.

Another Kadayawan photo op feature at the terminal

Another look at the hotels’ desk at the terminal just before the exit

I took a lot of photos at the airport so I will be sharing these in several posts. More photos soon!

On commuting characteristics in Metro Manila – Part 1

A friend posted the following two graphics showing commuting characteristics derived from a recent survey they conducted online. The 327 respondents are not much compared to the more comprehensive surveys like the ones undertaken by JICA and there are surely questions about the randomness of the survey. Online surveys like the one they ran can be biased depending on the respondents. This was mainly done via social media and through certain interest groups so statistically there may be flaws here. Still, there is value here considering there is often a lack of hard data on commuting characteristics especially those that are recent or current. We need these to properly assess the state of transportation or travel in Metro Manila and elsewhere.

 

What’s lacking? Information on car and motorcycle users? And why the long waiting times? Are these really just because of a shortage in the supply of public transport vehicles thereby necessitating additional franchises? [Graphic and data courtesy of Toix Cerna via Facebook]

 

Again, the mode shares reported are incomplete. With the exception of walking, car and motorcycle shares are substantial and significant. There is some info here about trip chains (i.e., the average of 2 rides per commute) but it is unclear what percentage of the trip is made using whatever mode is used. [Graphic and data courtesy of Toix Cerna via Facebook]

The absence of information about cars and motorcycles is glaring due to their significant share of commuters. Yes, the term ‘commuter’ actually refers to someone who regularly travels between home and office. By extension, this may also apply to travels between home and school. The term is not exclusive to public transport users as is often assumed. Walking between home and office qualifies as a commute.

I am curious about how commutes using cars and motorcycles would compare to public transport commutes. The comparison is quite useful to show, for example, the advantages and disadvantages of car use (this includes taxis and ride share). More detailed information may also reveal who among car or motorcycle users use these vehicles out of necessity rather than as one among many choices for their commutes. One thinking is that if public transport quality is improved, then many people will opt to use PT rather than their private vehicles. However, there is also the observation that in many cases, those already using PT are the first to shift from the lower quality service to the better one. I also wrote about this as I posted my worries about how successful can Line 7 and Line 2 extension be in reducing car use along their corridors. Perhaps the ones who will truly benefit are those who are already taking public transport, and car and motorcycle users will just continue with these modes?

In Part 2, I will share some data we collected more than a decade ago for a study on jeepneys in Metro Manila. I will use the information to explain another angle of this issue on public transport supply and demand.