Every now and again I am reminded why I opt to drive to work rather than take public transportation. True, I am an advocate of public transport over private car use but that advocacy is anchored on the public transport being safe and comfortable. Efficiency is another thing as people can argue that efficiency can be equated to speed. And for these people, many probably would exchange speed for safety and comfort.
This morning, the driver of the jeepney I rode from the LRT 2 station in Santolan seemed to be a frustrated airplane pilot and intent on reaching Cubao in 5 minutes (that's the reasonable time in takes to reach Barangka, Marikina from Santolan). Nevermind that there were no traffic jams because it was only 6:00AM and there was the fact that classes at all levels were suspended in the Metro due to today being the day the President of this country deliver her final (and a lot of people have their fingers crossed) State of the Nation Address. This was the kind of driving that brings a lot of people together when the driver remembers that the vehicle is equipped with brakes.
To be fair, the ride from Katipunan to UP was safer if not more comfortable considering that a 16-seater vehicle was being loaded at the terminal as if it were an 18-seater. The result being the last few passengers having only half the space for one's ass to be seated. Aside from that, travel was okay considering that Ateneo and Miriam generated vehicles were absent from Katipunan. I was about to conclude that Ateneans were still in shock after being soundly defeated in yesterday's Battle of Katipunan.
This brings me to the subject of grading our transportation system...remembering that only last Saturday, I was asked the question of what grade to give this administration. The producers of the segment wanted to use a grade school report card approach to assessing this administration's performance based on its promises of SONAs past. Particularly mentioned was the battlecry BEAT THE ODDS - that personally I find quite amusing in its construction (read: pilit na pilit).
To focus solely on transport infrastructure while neglecting to check whether the root causes of problems are addressed completely misses the point in as far as governance is concerned. True, we lack the basic infrastructure to ensure efficient movement of people and goods in this country but it is this basic infrastructure that is exclude from the grading. What is included are grand projects that are the SCTEXes, the nautical highways and the airports of international standard that were constructed during her term and probably made not a few people wealthier. What are not mentioned are the transport systems inappropriate for growing cities, the farm to market roads and the novelty transport modes that keep appearing on TV documentaries. Damang-dama ba natin ang progreso? Well, my overall grade if anyone should ask me is a passing mark...77...almost pasang awa and mind you, the palakol (as my father refers to the sevens) is quite symbolic not only of the trees that were sacrificed during relentless road widening but also of what needs to be done by 2010 and by means of an electoral exercise. Guess!