Fairly recent surveys (first quarter of 2011) along major corridors in Metro Manila have yielded the following data on transport modes shares in the National Capital Region. Such data, while quite specific for the corridors surveyed, strongly indicate that most people take public transport. As such, it is quite logical that public transport be prioritized and perhaps provided with the road space they require to be more efficient in conveying passengers to their destinations. There are mixed results in terms of which types of vehicles tend to dominate the road and these are noted below. Note that data for rail is not included but should favor public transport as well. Taxis, in this case, are classified among private vehicles. Trucks are not considered here as passenger vehicles though they do carry people.
Person trip mode shares along Aurora Boulevard eastbound (to Rizal & Marikina) – jeepneys account for 79% of road-based transport while cars carry 10% of person trips. In terms of vehicle share of the road, cars account for about 25% of the road while jeepneys take up about 59% after converting jeepneys into passenger car units using the assumption of 1.7 pcu = 1 jeepney. Such assumption is also used in other estimates.
Person trip mode shares along Aurora Boulevard westbound (to Cubao/Quezon City) – jeepneys account for 76% of road-based transport while cars carry 14% of person trips. Meanwhile cars occupy 31% of the road while jeepneys use 57%.
Interesting for the above statistics is the fact that these numbers do not reflect the actual share of public transport given that there is a rail transit service along this corridor. LRT Line 2, however, terminates before reaching the Province of Rizal, which necessitates the transfer of passengers from rail to mainly jeepneys towards their final destinations.
Person trip mode shares along Ortigas Avenue eastbound (to Rizal Province) – jeepneys account for 55% , buses 13% and AUVs 12% of road-based transport (total of 80% for PT) while cars carry only 15% of person trips. Cars occupy 37% of the road while jeepneys eat up almost the same at about 37%. AUVs are quite significant along this corridor taking up 12% of the road. Surprisingly, buses only occupy about 5% assuming 2.5 pcu = 1 bus. Perhaps Ortigas can be decongested if public transport services along the corridor are rationalized with many jeepneys retired in favor of the higher capacity buses.
Person trip mode shares along Ortigas Avenue westbound (to Mandaluyong/Manila) – jeepneys account for 55% , buses 20% and AUVs 8% of road-based transport (total of 83% for PT) while cars carry only 13% of person trips. Cars take up 38% of the road, jeepneys also 38%, AUVs 9% and buses only 4.5%.
Person trip mode shares along Commonwealth Avenue northbound (to Novaliches) – jeepneys account for 30% , buses 35% and AUVs 5% of road-based transport (total of 70% for PT) while cars carry 26% of person trips. Cars take up 57% of the road, jeepneys 17%, AUVs 6% and buses about 12%. Meanwhile, motorcycle account for about 8% of road space along Commonwealth NB. Note that Commonwealth is the widest road in the country with sections having up to 10 lanes per direction. The two outermost lanes are typically designated for PUVs while the 4th lane from the roadside is designated as a motorcycle lane.
Person trip mode shares along Commonwealth Avenue southbound (to Elliptical) –
Note that there is a proposed MRT 7 to be constructed along Commonwealth and that system will also favor public transport users. Such a system should be more efficient in carrying passengers along the corridor and should provide an opportunity to rationalize PUJ and PUB numbers along Commonwealth. And such an opportunity should be taken and not passed up if government is really serious in improving transport in Metro Manila.
Person trip mode shares throughout the country will surely have similar numbers if not higher shares for public transport compared to Metro Manila. This more than underlines the impetus for providing safe, efficient public transport services for Filipinos – a commitment that should not only be stated or printed but actively pursued with government in the forefront rather than on the sidelines.
Graphs and other stats mentioned derived from data from surveys for the Mega Manila Public Transport Planning Support System (MMPTPSS), 2011.
There are many domestic airports around the country that need to be upgraded. Among them are Cagayan De Oro, Tagbilaran and Roxas City. With the exception of Roxas City, the other two cities I mentioned are in dire need of larger passenger terminals given the demand and longer runways to be able to handle larger aircraft. In the case of Roxas City, passenger demand is surely increasing but not as rapidly as CDO or Tagbilaran. CDO, after all, is the main gateway to northern Mindanao while Tagbilaran is a major tourist destination. In the case of Roxas City, it has to compete with larger and more modern airports in the island of Panay particularly the Iloilo and Kalibo airports. For the neighboring province of Aklan, there is actually another modern airport that serves primarily the demand for travel to the attraction that is Boracay Island. Still, there is a need to refurbish, at the very least, Roxas City’s passenger terminal for many reasons. Primary among these reasons are the need for a more comfortable departure lounge and a secure terminal facility. Of course, it will be most welcome if the runway could also be improved. Following are a few photos from a trip back in 2010.
It was a good thing the airconditioning was working and the area was generally clean. The toilets were satisfactory. The TVs were also functioning but one couldn’t really hear anything from the ambient sounds (or noise) from the collective conversations of those in the lounge.
The airport reminded me a lot of the old processes in the old domestic airports including Manila’s. Boarding was organized according to the “diagonal lines” indicated on the boarding passes. There are still signs in the terminal with these conventions as shown above near the clock.
The domestic airport provided the basic facilities for such terminals. These terminals do not have air bridges like the airports I have written about. In the photo shown above, fabricated stairs or ladders are used for boarding or deplaning.
In the recent British Invention Show, a Filipina won a gold medal for something that is probably much needed to solve the transport woes of this country – the iBus. It is of course initially conspicuously like your regular bus system but upon closer look at the slideshow from the news article, there are many things about the system that’s high tech. The high tech aspects of the iBus are actually example applications of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) as implemented for public transport.
I am not privy to the details for the iBus but I did see part of its progress after meeting a few times with its proponents since last year. With the award, I hope that perhaps our DOTC, LTFRB or MMDA will become interested in the system and perhaps that interest will translate into the deployment of the system in a test corridor as a proof of concept. I would even dare propose that should the demo be successful that it be applied immediately in Philippine cities requiring modern transit systems.
We like to bash and criticize public transport drivers for their behavior when we only need to look in the mirror to see who is part of the traffic problem in this country. A lot of private car drivers here and elsewhere in the country tend to attribute traffic congestion to buses, jeepneys, AUVs and taxis while practically washing their hands off the congestion and reckless driving habits that we see everyday along Philippine highways and streets. Many tend to think that only PUV drivers are to blame for our traffic mess when in reality and data-wise there are surely more private traffic on our roads compared with public. Such statistics including mode shares for both vehicular and person trips along major corridors in Metro Manila I will share in another post.
I drive from my home to the office and back almost everyday and I have observed driving behavior for much of my life including the times when I’m in cities in other countries. PUV drivers to me are more predictable than private car drivers in this country. In fact, we can know for sure that PUV drivers will weave their vehicles in traffic and we will always brace ourselves for the aggressive driving every time we encounter PUVs. Such errant behavior, of course, could have been addressed by a stricter and more reliable licensing system for drivers. But that’s another story altogether that’s worth an entire article.
Meanwhile, I share the observation of one friend that many SUV or high-end vehicle drivers “tend to drive like outlaws.” I had articulated in an interview before that many young drivers (and older ones as well) tend to imagine themselves as race car drivers – and proceed by trying to out-speed and/or out-maneuver other drivers the way stuntmen do in the movies. This you can observe whether along a congested street or a free flowing expressway. Evidence to this includes all the road crashes involving private vehicles (including motorcycles) that would certainly out-number those involving PUVs. One thing not going for the PUVsm, however, is that they happen to carry more passengers and therefore more responsibility as a requirement of their being issued franchises. Another proof to irresponsible behavior are postings of claims and photos on social media showing speedometers exceeding speed limits. And yes, there are those who routinely and consciously violate speed limits along expressways for them to be captured by speed cameras. The shots are then used as bragging rights attesting to the driver reaching a certain speed with his/her vehicle.
This morning, I almost got sideswiped by a car who cut my path to make an abrupt right turn to enter the gate of a major private university. I thought I had a clear path to change lanes as I estimated a good distance from the same vehicle who was trailing me on the other lane. Instead, the vehicle accelerated and with horns blaring asserted his right to the lane. I had to use my defensive driving skills to avert a collision. Seconds later, he was blocking my path as he made a right turn at the university’s gate. I could only shake my head in frustration with what happened while an MMDA enforcer looked helplessly as a witness to the incident. A few minutes later, a couple of SUVs coming from a posh subdivision along Katipunan cut our path to make an illegal left turn at a U-turn slot. Vehicles from this subdivision do so regularly and with impunity as if their passengers were more blessed and more important persons than the rest using this major highway.
The examples above are just some of what we usually encounter everyday while traveling or during our regular commutes. These are certainly being caught on video by the MMDA cameras spread out and observing traffic along major roads in Metro Manila. These same drivers might be the first to throw the proverbial stone to their fellow drivers whom they have judged to have committed sins of recklessness when the truth is that they themselves are guilty and only have to look in the mirror to see for themselves who are really to blame for our dangerous and congested roads. Truly, what’s wrong with traffic in this country may not necessarily be with the way we manage traffic or enforce rules and regulations. It might just be the nut behind the wheel that’s defective, after all.
I met Paul Barter not too long ago when he visited Manila to give a presentation on parking at the ADB. This was at the then annual ADB Transport Forum held around May every year at the ADB’s headquarters in Manila. He is a faculty member at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore. I keep forgetting that he is a regular blogger and writes a lot about sustainable transport and particularly about parking. And so I share this awareness to my readers about Paul’s blog Reinventing Parking.
Reinventing Parking is an excellent resource for a lot of articles and references on parking. Paul has researched on parking in most Asian countries and has been to major cities in the region where he has collected first hand data on parking policies and behavior. I find his materials well researched and his discussions and opinions on parking quite interesting as many of the issues he has delved into in his posts are very much applicable to our experience in the Philippines. I have had the pleasure of sitting down with him to talk about parking policies and standards (?) in this country for his comparative research and a paper he was doing at the time. I’m sure there’s a lot our planners and developers will learn from Paul’s work. Perhaps, even decision-makers or government officials in-charge of parking standards (e.g., National Building Code) can pick up a thing or two from his body of work.
The current Iloilo Airport located mainly in the towns of Cabatuan and Sta. Barbara is a significant upgrade to the old one located in the Mandurriao District of the city. Like the old Bacolod Airport, the Mandurriao airport could no longer be expanded considering the requirements for a larger terminal and a longer runway. Planners also had to take into account prospects for further expansion in the future. The location of the airport is quite a curiosity since only the main access road is located in Sta. Barbara town, which comes before Cabatuan when traveling from the city. The terminal and the runway are laid out at Barangay Tiring of Cabatuan town. Since the Bacolod and Iloilo airports were constructed almost at the same time in 2004 and completed one after the other. Iloilo’s was completed a few months ahead of Bacolod’s in 2007 but the former was opened that same year while the latter started operations early in 2008.
Transit time between the airport and Iloilo City is typically 30 to 45 minutes depending on the destination within the city. There is a service road connecting the airport terminal to the Sta. Barbara bypass road national highway. From the airport, taking a right from the access road will bring the traveler towards the city. A left will lead travelers towards Cabatuan and in the general direction of Passi City and Capiz Province in the north.
Following are a few photos of the airport passenger terminal from past trips to the province. There are few as I keep procrastinating about taking more photos given that our home in Cabatuan is a short 20-minute drive from the airport. There are many other photos of the airport as well as the Bacolod-Silay airport that can be found in the internet.
The Iloilo and Bacolod airports are quite similar and the designs address many of the requirements of a modern airport. Both also take into account the typical Filipinos’ penchant for having many well-wishers accompanying the departing travelers to the airport or, for arrivals, fetching relatives and friends. As such, there is adequate space for people at the terminal (though again there seems to be a need for additional benches) and many parking spaces that can accommodate peak demands particularly during the holiday seasons of Holy Week and Christmas. It is easy to get a taxi or shuttle (usually AUVs or vans) from the airport.
The departure area is spacious, with the high ceiling obviously helping out in making passengers comfortable. The terminal is well-lighted, taking advantage of natural lighting, and clean toilets, and, as required by law, smoking rooms.
There are many concessionaires both inside and outside the airport. There are shops selling popular pasalubong like food items (try the pinasugbo, piaya, turrones and biscocho) and crafts (look for items made of hablon, an indigenous weave, or pineapple fiber). There are also eateries and cafes including one by the popular local bakeshop JD. It is never too late to try out a serving of Molo or Batchoy that may be ordered from the eateries.
There are four gates at the departure area that are typically assigned to the airlines servicing the airport including PAL, Ceb Pac and Air Philippines. Passenger demand for the airport is quite high as it also serves as the air transport hub not only for the province but for the towns of neighboring Antique, Capiz and Guimaras provinces. Antique and the island of Guimaras off Iloilo City have no airports, while Roxas City in Capiz has fewer flights. Aklan province is already served by two airports in the capital of Kalibo and the newly upgraded Caticlan that is the gateway to the popular tourist destination of Boracay Island.
There are three other major international airports operating in the Philippines aside from the NAIA. These are the airports in Cebu (Mactan Cebu International Airport), Davao (Francisco Bangoy International Airport) and Clark (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport). There are two others that handle international flights, Laoag (Ilocos Norte) and Subic (Zambales), which mainly cater to chartered flights from Hongkong, Taipei or Macau. Subic, of course, is the former US naval base that also used to be the Asian hub of logistics giant Fedex.
Mactan is the gateway to the central Philippines and is second to Manila in terms of international flights. The number of domestic flights flying in and out of Cebu is comparable to Manila considering that Cebu connects to many destinations in Mindanao (southern Philippines) that does not have flights linking to Manila. Davao is the gateway to the south and handles international flights, mostly via budget airlines, from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Clark or DMIA is the former US airbase and has already overtaken Davao in terms of the number of international flights handled. It is always mentioned as a possible replacement for NAIA as the primary international airport for the country, with discussions comparing NAIA-DMIA to Haneda-Narita. Of course, DMIA will require a much larger terminal to be able to handle the number of passengers who are expected to use the airport should it become the main gateway. And, there should be a good transport system linking the National Capital Region with Clark, which also should be like the transport systems making Narita accessible (e.g., Narita Express trains, limousine bus services, etc.).
The pre-departure area of the airport is also spacious and should be sufficient for the projected demand for the airport. The area is squeaky clean, well-lighted and the staff are respectful and efficient.
Check-in counters of the various local airlines are sufficient in number. All local airlines operate from Davao, which is the top destination in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Davao is actually the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area.
The spacious pre-departure area is sufficient for the number passengers typically handled by the airport particularly for domestic operations (There aren’t so many international flights.). Nevertheless, the area could use more benches considering the number of waiting passengers. The well-wishers’ area outside the terminal doesn’t have much furniture. Perhaps this is to discourage loitering or tambays in the airport terminal’s premises? These are understandably among the security concerns that the airport officials addressed with memories of the Davao airport (the old one) bombing a number of years ago.
There are many concessionaires inside the airport but some of them appear more like tiangge or informal. There is a booth where people can purchase vacuum-packed seafoods that can be taken as carry-on (if not purchased in large quantities). All the other shops sell pasalubong with the typical food items and crafts Davao is known for. That includes fruits like suha (pomelo) and mangosteen. There is, of course, durian being sold and you can even buy them vacuum-packed so you can take them in the plane. Fresh durian is not allowed as carry-on for obvious reasons – the scent.
There are a couple of coffee shops inside the airport but they don’t seem to be as attractive as the ones in Bacolod, Cebu or Iloilo. Nevertheless, they are good enough for hungry stomachs or thirsty throats. I am not including photos taken at one coffee shop as they show some colleagues joking around.
Departure area – the guy in the white barong is a distinguished gentleman from Mindanao who seem to prefer the spacious departure area from the VIP lounge usually reserved for people of his stature (good form sir!). Conferring with his staff, his being comfortable here seems to indicate that the area is good enough for everyone else including those who might think they deserve better.
The airbridge is extendable and should be able to handle wide-bodied aircraft like the A330’s that PAL usually deploys to Davao. The city generates much air traffic passengers considering it is a major tourist and business destination in the country.
The scenes above of Davao’s international airport gives us hope that we can actually have decent terminal facilities. The floors of the terminal are so clean that I’m sure anyone blogging about this would agree they are worthy of “sleeping on.” The same goes with the Bacolod-Silay airport that I wrote about in the previous post and other airports that have been upgraded if not recently constructed or relocated. It’s not too late for NAIA’s terminals but the government should really pour some resources into it and perhaps take the cue from people who have offered their services pro bono in order to address the state of the terminals, especially T1. But then again, I would like to see the government finally make a firm stand, a commitment, regarding the futures of NAIA and DMIA. Alin ba talaga ang gusto nating maging premier gateway? And note that DMIA is indeed strategic and has enough space for expansion but will require a larger, modern passenger terminal to handle traffic that is currently flying in and out of NAIA, and more in the future.
After writing a lot about highways and streets and railways (particularly on the PNR, its history and a few what if’s) I think its high time that I also write something about other modes of transport. Much has been abuzz about the state of our main international airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Terminal 1 is already too crowded and with toilets already quite notorious for their being dirty and stinky. Terminal 2, despite being used only by one airline – Philippine Airlines, is also becoming too crowded already being unable to handle both domestic and international flights during the peak periods. It is also being dragged into the mess that PAL is currently wading through. Terminal 3 is predominantly being used by Cebu Pacific, already the country’s largest airline despite being a budget outfit. It is supposed to handle international flights for NAIA and yet because of the still unresolved issues surrounding its construction, most international flights are still serviced by Terminal 1. Perhaps the largest and the most friendly for passengers and well-wishers, it has a serious parking problem (covered parking anyone?) and many of its features are not operational (e.g., moving walkways, air bridges, baggage handling, etc.).
But rather than feature the older, less attractive airports for my first post on these facilities, I will start with what we should have more of. There are already several airports that have been constructed/ transferred and/or upgraded in the past few years around the country that are worth mentioning. Among these is the New Bacolod-Silay Airport that is located in Silay City, north-northeast of Bacolod City. The following photos were taken by colleagues at the Institute of Civil Engineering and the National Center for Transportation Studies of UP Diliman back in 2008 when the airport just began operations. It is a very significant upgrade from the old Bacolod Airport that was already too crowded and could not handle both passengers and aircraft projected for Bacolod and Negros Occidental.
The airport terminal as viewed from the parking area – parking is spacious and sufficient for many years to come given the current and projected passenger demand. The airport is the second (after Iloilo) “airport of international standard” completed during the previous dispensation.
Escalator to the departure lounge – departing passengers are handled on the ground floor but have to transfer to the upper floor for the departure area. They board the plane through the air bridges that provide the connection between the terminal and the planes. Arriving passengers also use the air bridges but descend to the ground level for departure procedures including baggage claims.
The departure lounge at the airport is spacious and clean. The comfort rooms, my colleagues say from more recent trips, are still sparkling clean and well-maintained.
Another concessionaire in the airport gives passengers an alternative to other shops offering snacks or full meals. The prices, I am told, are pretty reasonable considering they operate in the airport. Often, items sold in airports are criticized for being expensive (presyong turista), something that needs to be addressed, too, in the interest of travelers.
Pasalubong center at the airport – Filipinos and travelers from other countries like to buy gifts or souvenirs to take home with them to give family and friends a taste of what they experienced in their trips. In Japan, this is called omiyage and is usually something that one can buy only from the place that you went to. There are many such items all around the country and for Bacolod/Negros Occidental, these include piaya, barquillos and napoleones.
Air bridge – provides access to and from the terminal building to the plane on the tarmac. This is level with the aircraft’s doors and eliminates the need for ladders often employed in other airports (usually domestic).
View from the departing plane – this is perhaps what the traveler will see first when his/her plane taxis towards to the terminal. It will also be what one would see as the plane taxis away to prepare for departure.
They say first impressions last and from the looks of the airport once you arrive in a certain place, you can already make some conclusions as to what the place might be in general terms. My colleagues are very impressed with Bacolod and its airport makes a statement to this effect. It is a very nice place to visit. It is clean and modern. Perhaps such simple observations or perceptions are what we should strive for in the case of NAIA’s terminals. It doesn’t really require so much to impress people. And clean toilets, and honest, efficient and reliable staff probably doesn’t require billions of pesos to realize.
One of the great “what if’s” for public transportation in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas pertains to rail transport that were operated in the Cavite and Rizal provinces prior to the Second World War. The present-day developments along what were railway corridors attest to the viability of these areas for development and it can be argued that rail transport services here could have been a game-changer in as far as public transport is concerned and may have significantly influenced travel preferences and behavior in these areas. These would not be light-rail but heavy-rail services and would certainly have had higher passenger capacities.
Close-up for railway lines from the figure in a previous blog
An even better close-up is provided in the following figure that shows three lines that could have shaped developments to the east and southwest of Metro Manila. These are the Cavite Line, the Marikina Line and the Antipolo Line.
Close-up for Cavite, Marikina and Antipolo Lines of the Manila Railroad Company
Following are the breakdown of stations for the three lines:
- The Cavite Line stretched from Manila through Paco, Paranaque, Bacoord, Noveleta until Naic in Cavite Province for a total of 44 km. Completed in 1908, it was abandoned in 1936.
- The Marikina Line started from Rosario (presently in Pasig and along an area still called Tramo) to Montalban via Marikina (where there is still a Daang Bakal) and San Mateo for a total of 31 km. Completed in 1907 (until Marikina in 1906), the entire line was abandoned in 1936.
- The Antipolo Line started from Manila and passed through Sta. Mesa, Pasig (likely somewhere in what is presently Bagong Ilog), Rosario, Taytay (through present day Cainta) and until Antipolo (near Hinulugang Taktak where there is still a Daang Bakal). Completed in 1908, the line was abandoned in 1917. The alignment from Cainta and Taytay crossed what is now Ortigas Ave. Extension at the Valley Golf gate and stretched along an alignment that appears to have the gentlest slope for a climb to Antipolo.
Clearly, if these lines were not abandoned but instead retained and developed even after World War 2, commuting preferences and behavior in Metro Manila could have been quite different. In fact, people could have chosen to travel by train instead of being dependent on cars. For those residing or working in the south (i.e., Paranaque, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, towns of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas) maybe people would have a viable alternative to the tollways in those areas. Note that the only operating rail transport in the area is the PNR Commuter Line that is currently experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Hopefully, its rehabilitation is completed and more passengers patronize the service.
Rizal is presently not served by any railway until perhaps LRT Line 2 is finally extended towards Antipolo via the Marcos Highway corridor. The Marikina-San Mateo- Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) areas are accessible via national roads that are often congested primarily due to paratransit traffic. The more progressive towns of Rizal (Cainta, Taytay, Binangonan and Angono) as well as its capital city of Antipolo is accessible mainly via either Ortigas Avenue or Marcos Highway. Both highways are already quite congested and road widening options are quite limited especially for the heavily traveled Ortigas Ave. One can only imagine now how a rail system could have addressed the travel demand along these corridors and perhaps enhanced the quality of living in these areas.
On my way to the dentist last weekend, I encountered more roadworks during my drive. This time, it was along Angel Tuazon Ave. stretching from Marcos Highway to Sumulong Highway. Due to the rains the past few days, work seems to have been suspended and I saw no one doing anything along the work site.
Concrete pavement re-blocking site along A. Tuazon Ave. – this road frequently goes under water during intense rainfalls brought about by typhoons. Being a truck route also contributes to the road being damaged.
Roadworks along the approach to the junction with Sumulong Highway – one lane of the opposing direction is generally used by left-turning traffic along the northbound side under a countet-flow scheme. I can imagine this causes significant congestion along other legs of the intersection as only one lane is available for the southbound direction, limiting intersection capacity.
Good luck to people passing these areas this week. May you have more patience as you travel.