Ride-hailing apps as a solution to transport woes only create class divide | Inquirer Opinion
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Ride-hailing apps as a solution to transport woes only create class divide

/ 04:05 AM July 25, 2023

The convenience offered by ride-hailing apps has undoubtedly transformed the way we commute. No longer do we have to endure the long queues or uncertainty of finding a ride. With just a few taps, a vehicle is summoned and the payment is seamlessly processed. It is an appealing prospect for those seeking a hassle-free commute in a city like Davao known for its bustling streets and heavy traffic.

However, the growing reliance on ride-hailing apps also raises questions about the larger implications for our transportation system. Are these apps merely a band-aid solution to a deeper problem? What is the true cost of convenience? While ride-hailing apps offer a respite from the struggles of traditional public transportation, they come at a price. The surge pricing during peak hours and the occasional refusal of bookings make it clear that convenience is a privilege reserved for those who can afford it. This creates a class divide where the wealthy can navigate the city seamlessly, while those with limited resources are left to suffer the inefficiencies of the public transportation system.

The dreaded commute in Davao City never fails to test my patience and dampen my spirits. Vehicles line up ferociously on the intersecting streets, and the roads are clogged with cars, motorcycles, and tricycles, all jostling for a few inches of space. For many Davaoeños, traffic is a daily ordeal that takes a toll on their physical and mental well-being. It’s a never-ending battle against time as we struggle to reach our destinations.

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Some people might argue that traffic is a sign of progress. After all, bustling streets indicate a thriving economy and a city on the rise. But sitting in traffic for hours on end doesn’t feel like progress at all. It feels like a wasted opportunity to be productive or spend quality time with loved ones. I’ve witnessed countless individuals, weary and disheartened, standing on the sidewalks, hoping for a chance to board a jeepney that isn’t packed to the brim. And then there are the rainy days when the commute becomes a nightmare with people lined up on the streets, soaking wet, determined to catch a ride.

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Davao Region and the Davao City Planning and Development Office earlier proposed the high-priority bus system (HPBS) to alleviate congestion by providing interconnected bus service on Davao’s vast 626-kilometer road network.

Despite the initial plans and promises, the timeline for implementing the HPBS has been pushed back. In the meantime, commuters continue to suffer the consequences of an inadequate transportation network.

Davaoeños deserve a public transportation system that prioritizes their needs. Improving the public transportation system goes beyond the realm of convenience; it is about creating an inclusive and sustainable city where every citizen can travel safely and conveniently. It requires a shift in mindset, where consideration for the common good takes precedence over individual convenience. It calls for a transportation system that is accessible, affordable, and efficient for all.

The current commute situation in Davao City reflects a larger issue in the Philippines—a broken public transportation system that leaves commuters struggling for convenience. The rise of ride-hailing apps is a response to the inefficiencies of traditional transportation, but it should not be the sole solution. To truly address the problem, we need to invest in public transportation infrastructure that serves the needs of all citizens. Only then can we achieve a future where convenience no longer means inconvenience.

Chedelyn Gee S. Tabalba,

Davao City

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, ride-hailing app

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