December 9, 2022

What’s with the resistance to the new transport system? Is it the P11 one-way cost that is P1 higher than the regular jeepney fare? Is it the inconvenience of having to stop only in designated drop off points? I had to find out.
I hopped on a Trancoville-bound modernized and Euro 4-compliant public utility vehicle. I had to check it out for myself.
It is both fortunate and unfortunate that the roll out of the new PUVs came during the Covid-19pandemic. For one, can you imagine that the total capacity of the vehicle is 30 but is only allowing 15 passengers comfortably seated at this time?
During the normal school days, it would be able to haul more children to school safely. For the elders and persons with disabilities, this makes sense because they don’t have to bend to get into one, just like a bus, the headroom is good up to a height of six feet. The steps are road level and not above the regular 19.5 cm or 7.5 inches that are painful for creaky bones or heavy bodies.
I hopped on the mini-bus, as it is being referred to at this time, at the loading and unloading zone along Harrison Road at about 10:33 a.m and decided to observe the route and the modus operandi.
I was warned that they only accept exact payments of P11 and dutifully paid the exact amount. I was issued a fare stub by the conductor, Marvin William, that is similar to the taxi meter ticket when you ask for a receipt. Informed the conductor that I’m heading to Trancoville. Yes, it would be great to go cashless in these transactions so that there would be no need for another operator to issue these tickets. In the places that I’ve been to, the logic of having the entrance beside the driver and the exit at the back end of the bus is so the driver can monitor the payments as the passengers hop on and he merely opens the back door and front door at the stops. This could be considered in the next orders of the vehicles.
According to cooperative-member and driver Ricardo Rimando that they are only allowed to stop at the loading and unloading zones at the central business district. This is supposed to avert the traffic caused by the PUVs loading and unloading passengers anywhere.
Rimando added that people can get off at any point once at Trancoville since there are no designated stops, except at the pick-up depots at the Don Bosco area and under the Magsaysay flyover.
The first stop after Jadewell along Harrison Road was across the Baguio Patriotic School, the former bus terminal at Gov. Pack Road, in front of SM City Baguio, NBI office, May Bank, any point along the Leonard Wood Road that intersects at the rotunda at the top of Session Road, and on to Bonifacio Road.
The vehicle turns right to Rimando Road then turns left towards M. Roxas Road that stretches through the area called Trancoville. The longest wait is along the intersection of Magsaysay and M. Roxas where the vehicles from four directions converge. The stop under the flyover makes sense for those coming from La Trinidad, Benguet to ride the PUVs into the marketplace and SM at this point.
Also, there would be no need to make a stop at Camdas and crossover into the inner lane again. But there are traffic personnel, who will iron these kinks out. An experiment is ongoing with the flyover along the Resurrection Church that was allowed for two-way lane. The diversion still clogs at the Camdas intersection, if you ask me and is just half of a good idea because it has limited the cars that go three ways from the church side.
Magsaysay Avenue is a smooth ride while there are no stops. This is the point where I realize why the conductor has asked where I was going, it was so he could tell the driver of the next unloading area for the passenger. Again, this is also why in other places, the bus stops are designated for both the passengers and drivers to know where to hop on or get off. This I guess will be hard to do in this city.
We reached the same spot where I hopped on at 11:13 a.m. The four-kilometer ride took a full 40 minutes, comfortably in the air-conditioned commuter transit. I enjoyed the joy ride, thanks to the driver and conductor, who said that they are not necessarily a tandem. The conductors are assigned in different vehicles every other day for now.
A face mask, face shield and P11 fare are all you need to meet the protocols for this wonderful and enjoyable commute in the CBD. What’s with the residents who are still scared of it? The air conditioner should be the least of worries if you have yourself protected. I have a proposal, could we call these vehicles “mini” or “miney” as a successor of the jeepney?