Another look at Suvarnabhumi Airport – arrival, part 1
Here are photos of Suvarnabhumi Airport upon my arrival in Bangkok earlier this month. Here’s the first set of photos taken upon my arrival at the international terminal.
Moving walkway/ Walkalator
Artwork along the way to immigrations
Directional signs are quite important for an airport of this size
More directions and a map
Digital/electronic information board
Information board on aircraft arrivals and departures
Entry to the immigrations area where photographs and video are not allowed. I dare not be caught violating this rule in a foreign country.
Baggage claim area
Information on which carousel to go to pick-up your luggage are on this board. There are so many arrivals at the airport and so many carousels so its important to look it up for reference and direction.
More artwork, this time at the baggage claim area
Luggage going around on the carousel
Here are more artworks – I think this is a good idea to showcase the country’s artists at its main gateway. Perhaps Philippine airports should also make a similar effort? I recall Mactan Cebu International Airport featuring a local artist Boy Kiamko’s work at the terminal.
Increasing the number of TNVS units? Not so fast!
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is planning to increase the number of TNVS units (i.e., rideshare vehicles) in Metro Manila to meet what is perceived as the demand for them based on the numbers provided by TNCs like Grab. The problem with this number they want to eventually achieve, 65,000 units supposedly, is that this is based on current transport conditions in the metropolis. Also, this is based on data that is biased for the interests of TNCs, which obviously want to increase their driver and vehicle base in order to maximise profits. Here is a nice article that should provide some context from abroad where rideshare vehicles are actually generating more car traffic and taking people away from public transport.
Fried, B. (2018) “Uber and Lyft Are Overwhelming Urban Streets, and Cities Need to Act Fast,” Streetsblog, https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/07/25/uber-and-lyft-are-overwhelming-urban-streets-and-cities-need-to-act-fast/ [Last accessed: 7/26/2018]
Currently under construction are the Line 7 and Line 2 Extension projects and soon there will also be the Line 1 Extension. Also, in the pipeline are the proposed subway and rehabilitation of PNR that is supposed to revitalise its commuter line. These are examples of projects that will likely be game changers in terms of commuting with the objective of drawing people away from car use. In the bigger scheme of things, perhaps there is a need to rethink numbers for TNVS and instead focus on improving taxi services in Metro Manila. The same can be said for other cities as well where there is already a need for better public transport services to avert a transport future similar to what Metro Manila is already experiencing now.
25th Annual Conference of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines
The Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP) will be holding its 25th Annual Conference in Cagayan De Oro City next week. Here is the program and you can get more details about the conference and the society from its homepage and Facebook page.
The future of walking?
Here’s another nice article on the most basic of all modes of transport for people – walking.
Levinson, D. (2018) “What will the footpath of the future look like?”, foreground.com.au, https://www.foreground.com.au/transport/future-footpath/?platform=hootsuite [Last accessed: 7/18/2018]
My only comment about this article is that perhaps the matters mentioned here pertaining to technology that is often associated with the mention of the word “future” is something that the more advanced countries might be concerned with. They are not necessarily applicable to many if not most cases in the developing world much like the talk about autonomous vehicles being exciting in developed countries but not so in others. So yes, the future of walking should still be for people to walk and for authorities to provide the facilities for this activity. Active transport, after all, is not about moving machines but for people to be on the move.
Safe and healthy journeys to school
I recently attended a workshop organised by UNICEF in cooperation with UN Environment and the WHO. The main topic was about road safety, particularly for children and focusing on their journeys between homes and schools. This is definitely a big issue and the concern is not without basis. Take the example shown in the photo below where two motorcycles are carrying more passengers than what they are designed for.
Children on-board motorcycles bound for a school in Zamboanga City
The passengers are children being taken by what looks like a parent or parents driving the motorcycles. Such are common scenes in Philippine roads and in many cases, the children are at risk of being involved in a crash. Most will have no protection and will likely be seriously injured or be killed in case of a crash. Then there are the cases of children walking between their homes and schools and are exposed to the dangers brought about mainly by motor vehicle traffic along the roads they travel on. It is a wonder how there are few crashes occurring despite these conditions (or is it because few are reported and recorded?)!
I will be pursuing research topics related to safe journeys to schools more than other road safety topics that the staff and students I supervise are usually taking on. Hopefully, too, my new advisees this coming semester will be interested in related topics particularly graduate students who work for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Why does it seem to be congested on the way out of BGC?
Why does it seem like its more congested in BGC nowadays especially during the afternoon peak hours when people are heading home from work? The simple answer to the question may be found in the set-up of barriers from the exit ramp of the flyover from Market! Market! I took some photos of the situation the wife related to me. This was along her regular commute and now she avoid the area; taking the Kalayaan route instead and using the U-turn flyover to get to the northbound side of C5.
Familiar scene along C-5? What’s new here is that authorities have extended the barriers from the foot of the flyover from BGC and effectively blocked vehicles from merging early with C-5 through traffic.
It doesn’t seem obvious but 2 lanes of vehicular traffic merge into 1 lane in order to merge left.
Most vehicles are northbound. The sign in the photo points to which lanes to take if you are northbound (Pasig) or turning towards Pateros. The U-turn flyover effectively blocks traffic from the rightmost lane (including those along the service road) from merging with northbound traffic in the inner lanes.
Note the the barriers segregating northbound traffic from Pateros-bound traffic.
I think this is a simple case where the barriers shouldn’t have been extended the way they are now and restricting space for merging. The effect on C-5 traffic is minimal while causing unnecessary congestion along the flyover and into BGC. What seems like a solution to some (i.e., certain people in authority) clearly leads to more problems – in this case more congestion.
On the matter of parking
Here’s another nice read that I’m sure is worth the while particularly if you are interested in parking
Litman, T. (2018) Parking Planning Paradigm Shift, planetizen.com, https://www.planetizen.com/blogs/99462-parking-planning-paradigm-shift [Accessed: 7/7/2018].
An acquaintance recently forwarded to me a position paper of sorts calling for the removal of parking minimums in the Philippines. The document constantly dropped the name of UC Irvine Professor Donald Shoup and others in order to justify his proposal. This was supposed to be addressed to those who are doing the revisions of the National Building Code (NBC) of the Philippines. First off – I didn’t know that the minimum parking requirements are being reviewed now and that there is another revision project that is ongoing. The last revisions I was aware of was the project that sought to include resilience items in the NBC. That was done through the University of the Philippines Diliman with UP’s Building Research Service (BRS) as lead and involving, among others, its Colleges of Architecture and Engineering.
The busy Chao Phraya
The Chao Phraya is a very busy river as traffic along this body of water is quite heavy. There are lots of vessels including those used for commuting and tourism. Here are a few photos I took from my hotel room.
A couple of commuter boats going on opposite directions
A river cruise vessel that’s popular with tourists. They serve meals on the upper deck and there is entertainment as well as a guided tour of the attractions along the Chao Phraya.
River traffic is heavy even during night time. Attractions such a the Grand Palace are nicely illuminated at night so these make for impressive sights. Perfect backgrounds while having dinner or perfect subjects if you’re into photography.
The Chao Phraya Princess (one of many princesses) docking at the Shangri-la
I wonder if the Pasig River can be developed to this level in terms of commuter and tourist traffic.
Back in Bangkok
I am back in one of my favourite countries to visit – Thailand. I was a frequent visitor between 2002 and 2008. After that, I have been to the Kingdom only twice – in 2012 and in 2013.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is the main gateway to the Kingdom of Thailand. I was among the early users of this airport when it replaced the old Don Muang Airport that was closer to the Bangkok city center.
I was witness to the development of their transportation infrastructure including the construction of two links to Suvarnabhumi Airport – the express railway and the expressway. Shown above is a welcome sign as you leave the airport. In my case, I decided to use a taxi to get to my hotel as I had some luggage with me.
I will be posting about Bangkok in the next few days. I just need some time and the opportunity to take some nice photos to show here.
On the continuing evolution of Uber and Lyft, and some thoughts on TNCs in the Philippines
Here’s a nice read about ridesharing/ridehailing/ridesourcing in the US:
Madrigal, A.C. (2018) “Will Uber and Lyft Become Different Things?”, medium.com, https://medium.com/the-atlantic/will-uber-and-lyft-become-different-things-2d0442472a15 [Last accessed: 6/13/2018].
It seems that companies like Uber and Lyft are evolving and that should benefit commuters. Meanwhile, the latest news on TNCs in the Philippines is on the issuance of a Department Order by the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The new Department Order (DO) effectively amends and supersedes an earlier DO issued in 2015 (DO No. 2015-011), wherein TNCs were allowed to set their own fares, subject only to oversight by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). This means more regulations for TNCs that might actually harm the new players more than the remaining big player – Grab.
Uber recently sold its Philippine operations to Grab in exchange for shares of Grab. One colleague quipped “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” And that seems to be the case here where Uber’s vulnerability was exposed when faced with a strong competitor together with a government bent on having a firm regulatory control of TNC operations. While I am for regulations in order to protect both the interests of commuters as well as the drivers-operators of TNCs, I believe too much regulations will weaken this mode while taxi services remain wanting (to use a kinder term). The DOTr and the LTFRB is again not addressing the root cause of a problem on taxi-type services and allowing generally poor services among taxi companies in Metro Manila to continue.