It’s the very definition of criminal
We’ve been all focused at the Uber VS Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) saga the past few days because of Uber’s suspension, their defiance of their suspension and the overall insatiable hate that the LTFRB has for said ride-sharing platform. And why shouldn’t we be? Uber and similar TNV’s like Grab are the only decent public transport options in the Philippines, and now the LTFRB is acting like one of Uber’s drivers ran over their dog, repeatedly, with a Montero.
I feel that the general public wouldn’t be so mad at the LTFRB for actually doing their job for once if there was other transportation options available for the public to use that doesn’t, well, suck. Taxis are choosy and annoying to deal with, and statistically you have a high chance of actually dying while riding one of the many public buses that recklessly ply EDSA on your way to work in the morning.
Buses and taxis suck for a lot of reasons, but many of their behaviors can be traced to one single thing: they’re all employed by operators using the boundary system.
For people who don’t know, the boundary system is basically rent that drivers pay the owners of taxis and buses for the right to use their vehicle for 12 hours. Whatever they earn above the set boundary amount is basically their take home for the day, minus expenses for gas or diesel.
The boundary system is problematic because it encourages drivers to drive like maniacs on the road. The logic is simple – the more trips you make, the more money you rake in. With the state of the roads and traffic in the Philippines, that means driving their vehicles like lunatics, treating traffic rules and regulations like suggestions and generally acting like assholes on the road.
And as much as I want to bodyslam these drivers into the windshields of their vehicles when they cut me off or almost collide with me while barreling down Commonwealth Avenue, I kind of understand the predicament that they’re in. Add to that that most (if not all) of these drivers don’t have any kind of health insurance, pension or benefits, then their behavior becomes easier to understand (I still want to bodyslam them though).
If our government is really hell bent in fixing our utterly broken public transport system, they need to start with the boundary system. They need to abolish it altogether, and replace it with something more humane for drivers. Operators are knowingly preying on the weak, uneducated masses that make up most of the drivers behind the wheels of public transport, and raking in the cash. Give drivers regular salaries and benefits, and you’ll see the difference right away. When there’s no longer an incentive to drive like lunatics on the road, there will be less lunatics on our streets. It’s that simple.