Over the years, improvement in the public transportation in the Philippines is still very slow with only the installation of two modern transport systems to show. From the Kalesa to the new Manila Railways Transport (MRT), Philippines transport sector has yet to make other significant improvement especially in the mass transport sector. Herewith are the existing public transpo in the Philippines:
- Kalesa. This means of transportation, a horse driven carriage, still exist in the Divisoria area in Manila. Kalesa, sometimes called “Karitela”, is considered as the original “Hari ng Kalsada” (King of the Road). This is usually used to transport large volume of items bought by Divisoria buyers and traders.
- Pedicab. This means of transport can be found in almost all side streets in Metro Manila. A pedicab, also called “Padyak” (Kick), is a bicycle driven with a sidecar and is usually used for short-range transport. It usually carries 3-5 passengers. Others consider pedicab as the “Hari ng Eskinita”(King of Narrow Streets).
- Tricycle. Competitor of pedicabs for short range transport. This motorcycle driven transport with a sidecar is used for faster transport but also for a short distances. Tricyle must be registered in the local Transportation Office to be allowed to ply certain routes. This transpo can be usually found in small towns and cities.
- Jeepney. Jeepney owners must register and secure a franchise from the Land Transportation Office before it can be used for public transport. This means of transport follows a specific route that is bounded by the franchise. Jeeps, short for jeepney, is now considered the modern “Hari ng Kalsada” (King of the Road) and is practically everywhere. They ply major and minor streets sometimes at 24/7 but they sometimes run very slow and make too many stops to get passengers. They carry an average of 18-20 passengers. Some jeeps in the Makati City area are equipped with air-condition.
- Taxi. If you want to save time and energy, riding a taxi is the answer. Taxi is an air-conditioned car used to transport a maximum of 4-5 passengers. This taxi does not follow a specific route like the jeeps. They are considered the King of Shortcuts because they find the shortest ways on how to get to your destination at the soonest possible time. Cabs usually ply through minor streets to avoid heavy traffic. Taxis are usually on the road 24/7. Most notable taxis around the Metro Manila area are: Trend, Xavierville, EMP, MGE, RNE, Sturdy, Nine Stars and EFE.
- Bus. One of the mass transport systems of the Philippines is the bus. Just like jeeps, they are registered and must have a franchise to operate as a transport vehicle. Bus are bigger, has larger capacity with an average of 50 passengers at a given time. They ply major streets most of the time and short minor streets only. Majority of this bus today are air-conditioned. They also take longer distances, sometimes driving from one province to another and even inter-island routes using the roll-on roll-off (RORO) system.
- Train. Operated by the Philippine National Railways, this mass transport system plies the route from Manila to Southern part of Luzon. This is one of the oldest transport system in the Philippines. Trains were recently improved with coaches now are equipped with air-condition.
- LRT/MRT. Light Rail Transit (LRT) is the first modern mass transport system in the Philippines. It was followed more than 20 years later by the Metro Rail Transit. These two are the modern means of mass transportation in the Philippine and can only be found in the Metro Manila area yet. This transport is a train that carry several hundreds of passengers at one given time. Trains arrive in a station in about five minutes. Riding the LRT/MRT is time saving because you will be able to avoid traffic. LRT1 runs from Baclaran, Parañaque to Monumento, and Caloocan from 5am to 9pm. LRT2 runs from C.M. Recto, Manila to Marcos Highway, Pasig from 6am to 8pm.MRT runs from Taft Avenue, Pasay to North Avenue, Quezon City from 6am-9pm. MRT runs almost the whole stretch of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). LRT1 plies the whole length of Taft Avenue. LRT2 runs through the majority of C.M. Recto, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, and Aurora Boulevard.
The LRT/MRT is a major development in the transport system of the Philippines. The other means of transportation has yet to be improved or removed to declogged the streets of Metro Manila. As of this time, Filipinos are not yet ready to do away with the customary means of transport like jeeps, tricycles, and even pedicab. There had been so many failed attempts already to eliminate jeeps from plying some major roads in the metro. Modern times bring about modern and much improved transport systems, thus, sooner or later some of the old transport has to go.