Wednesday, February 1, 2017

FLASHBACK: 'Love Bus' a state owned transpo system under Marcos era

MANILA, Philippines – The air-conditioned, blue-painted, heart-decked Love Bus was the idea of former First Lady Imelda Marcos and was operated by what was then the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

As to why it was called the Love Bus is not clear, but the idea was for it to offer a comfortable ride to passengers. Passengers also waited for these buses to arrive at their designated stops, and did not flag them where it was convenient for them to do so.

The buses, reconditioned Hino brand from Japan, were a welcome alternative to the lawanit (coconut husk)-clad buses. Love Buses used to ply the routes of Escolta, Quezon Avenue, the University of the Philippines, Quad in Makati, Greenhills, among key points in Metro Manila.

Those who remember how convenient they were are proposing their return, as evident in a dedicated Facebook page for the Love Bus. https://web.facebook.com/bringbackthelovebus?_rdr

“The Love Bus was supposed to be a unified transport system,” The Veterans Bank chairman Roberto de Ocampo recalled in an economic outlook forum on Friday, November 21.
REMEMBER THE LOVE BUS? The Love Bus is supposedly a unified transport system during the Marcos regime. Photo from Bring Back the Love Bus to Metro Manila! Now Facebook page

REMEMBER THE LOVE BUS? The Love Bus is supposedly a unified transport system during the Marcos regime. Photo from Bring Back the Love Bus to Metro Manila! Now Facebook page

Such a state-owned bus system is missing in today’s metropolis. Buses are kings of thoroughfares like EDSA, and bus drivers race to collect as many passengers as they could, unmindful of stalling traffic or risking an accident.

Unlike the Love Bus where there were no standing passengers allowed, buses – or even the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) – have commuters all cramped and standing on the aisles.



“In many cases, we have transport, but no system. Perhaps the system has become individually entrepreneurial for its own good. Anybody can buy a bus, get a franchise, and start operating a bus [business],” De Ocampo, finance secretary during the Ramos administration, said.

According to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), as of August this year, some 3,500 city-franchised buses ply EDSA daily, even if, according to a study, it can only accommodate about 1,600.

There is also the problem of out-of-line provincial buses, whose operators assign units to other existing franchise routes without LTFRB’s nod. This is why the board is pushing for the rationalization of provincial buses.

For a transport-efficient Philippines

When further asked for solutions that can create a transport-efficient system in the Philippines, the experts from Friday’s Fearless Forecast 2015 forum stressed a couple of points.

De Ocampo said coordinated urban planning is long overdue.

But since the devolution of local government units (LGUs) in the 1990s, LGUs manage themselves like tribes without regard for overall public transport efficiency in Metro Manila, De Ocampo added. Thus, there are buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and other means of transportation crossing cities and municipalities.

Source: Rappler

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