Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Are Pinoys Ready for the Hybrid Bus?

What are these high tech looking things grabbing stares and attention along Kalayaan Ave in Makati? Its the new Hybrid Bus, plying the route from C5 to Kalayaan to Buendia to LRT. Its a green and environmentally friendly way to commute from the the city outskirts to the inner city.

Living near Gate 1 on Kalayaan Avenue, its kinda refreshing to see an almost empty public utility plying this route. Usually, the public transports that goes through there are already full, making the queue of passengers pile up till the later hours of the morning.

The buses also utilizes a system that I am accustomed to seeing in the inner cities of Tokyo. From the front loading auto door  the "exact change only" fare box near the driver (as of now, its a Php15.00 flat rate), to the sparse 48 seating capacity, the large "exit only" at the middle, the driver intercom system, the route map above the doors, and the low volume ambient tunes piping through the bus speakers. I gave emphasis to the "ambient sound" matter because I brought a Japanese manager with me to ride a second hand bus from Japan, and he was complaining about the loud mouthed radio DJ with her heckling, corny jokes and annoying machine gun like laughter blasting through the bus speaker.

Comfy to ride on, it gives ordinary Filipinos a feel on whats it like to use a "first hand" bus, not the reconditioned second hand "land missiles" that jam up every major artery in the city.

If you don't have exact change, fret not. There is a conductor inside for those with larger bills. And you can buy a prepaid card where you swipe it on data terminals inside the bus...exactly like those in Tokyo.

The bus tends to pick up passengers everywhere, it does stop at its appointed bus stop along its route.

But are the Flips ready for this kind of system that requires discipline and honesty?

Like a social experiment observer, I got on one of these buses and examined passenger reactions and behavior whilst on the bus.

As expected, approximately 70 percent of the time, the passengers just do what they usually do on ordinary Philippine buses  Disregarding the "Entry only" and "Exit Only" signs on the auto doors  Ignoring the fare box while there are large printed signs indicating the fare should be deposited there (Maybe its because the signs were in ENGLISH...a language which seems too tough for the common Filipino). Passengers also ignore the warning signs that indicated certain areas where the auto doors retreat to when they open. Which added to the workload of the conductor who had to make sure that the passengers don't stay on those areas before the conductor could open or close the doors (Once again, maybe because the warning signs were in ENGLISH).

It doesnt require social change to use these implements, only the discipline to follow instructions...and have a grasp of the language which is considered our nation's second language.