Runaway oil prices put strain on Manila's (abysmal) public transport system
Unlike other Asian countries which subsidize oil, the Philippines' free market on petroleum products fall victim to the unrelenting increases in global oil prices. Since January of this year, price of petrol have risen 18 times--from Php45/liter (approx. USD1.00) to in excess of Php60/liter--with incremental increases of Php1.50 per week.
And it's putting a strain on the capital region's mass transport system, as more and more commuters choose to take the bus and overhead railways (MRT and LRT). Especially during rush hour (7am - 10am and 4pm - 7pm), queues at MRT and LRT stations wind down to the streets below.
The surge in demand for trains is worrying transport officials.
“The problem is that we can only take so much,” said Roberto Lastimoso, MRT general manager. “We have told the economic managers that our situation is becoming critical. It is an issue of national concern.
“At peak times it’s so uncomfortable, passengers are jostling one another, passengers overflow at street level. You have to deal with jostling by other passengers and the smell of people.”
If there were any advantages brought about by exorbitant oil price, these would be less pollution and free-er roads.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported a 10 percent decrease in traffic along EDSA, one of Metro Manila's major thoroughfares.
At present, the government is mulling on a temporary cessation or lowering of eVAT (extended value added tax of 12 percent) on petroleum products.