Three fundamental roadblocks to improving Philippine public transport

Solving the mass transport problem of large Philippine cities is one of those hard problems. Much of its hardness is accounted for by that inescapable fundamental nature of the poverty that defines the Filipino’s very existence — the Filipino’s habit of entering into commitments that they are inherently incapable of honouring. Such commitments are almost overwhelmingly related to the Philippines’ immense population. To say that the population problem is more about a lack of economic opportunity rather than a problem of our huge numbers simply highlights the problem even more — Filipinos continue to multiply (thereby locking themselves into commitments to employ more of themselves) without the slightest clue around how to create those “economic opportunities” that they keep lamenting is missing.

The problem of modernising Philippine public transport has an obvious solution — junk the antiquated infrastructure (the vehicles and the management and regulatory system itself) and start fresh with an architected system. Unfortunately the problem of what to do with the massive unemployment such a solution will create is an intractable one, because those who will be affected the most (hundreds of thousands of drivers and operators who will be left unemployed) are voters. No Filipino politician in their right mind will touch such a solution even with a ten-foot pole.

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Nevertheless, let us pretend for a moment that solving the mass transit problem in the Philippines is actually a worthwhile undertaking deserving of a Filipino politician’s time. What follows are what would be my three vital few issues around which a solution would be engineered and an execution plan developed.

* * *

Delegation of mass transit capability to private enterprise

This is perhaps the most fundamental problem with the way public transport is being managed in the Philippines. Buses and jeepneys plying key city routes in major Philippine cities work under the “boundary” system. In essence private enterprise owns both the vehicles and the rights to ply these routes (said rights issued under a government-managed system) with these vehicles. The vehicles are then “leased” to drivers who agree to pay a fixed minimum daily fee (the “boundary“) to the lessor. The drivers (or the employers of these drivers, who could also be the vehicle owners themselves) are then free to pocket fare they collect above that minimum “boundary” (less fuel costs, in most cases).

One form or another of this “boundary” system is applied from the biggest transport operations (full-sized buses), to mid-capacity operations (jeepneys, mini-buses and shuttle services, and taxis) to small mom-and-pop cottage operations (tricycles, pedicabs, and motorised pedicabs called kuligligs).

The extent that Government sees itself as accountable, as such, does not go further than regulating the number of operators authorised to ply its portfolio of routes. And even that is subject to abuse and mismanagement as it seems many of these routes have been over-subscribed way beyond their capacities to accommodate transport operators.

Aversion to walking

Filipinos don’t walk. Or more specifically, only the poor walk. That’s the thinking of this famously backward society. In practice, of course, it is not only the rich who are of that view, as many middle to lower-middle-class people also do see themselves as being above walking in the sun — which is why tricycles and pedicabs also have a market for transport over tingi (short-run, otherwise walkable) distances.

There is a stigma attached to walking in the Philippines. Perhaps to be fair, spending even just ten minutes walking out in the equatorial sun and the drenching humidity that accompanies it is enough to make one feel like taking a long shower. But then that may be partly because of what society dictates is decent or even dress-for-success attire in the islands nowadays. Indeed, appropriate attire on a tropical island is really what the original pre-European ancestors of “Filipinos” wore, and not the sort of Euro-inspired attire that Filipino would-be fashionistas prescribe.

Pre-colonial Filipinos possessed a fashion sense more suitable to the climate.

In short, to have to come to work in a European costume is what makes most Filipinos averse to exposing themselves to the tropical climate — a climate that is, ironically, a lot less demanding of one’s clothing sensibilities than that of a setting further north or south of the equator. How long can one spend outdoors in Manila wearing a long-sleeved shirt and tie before one starts to feel like a sweat-hog?

While I don’t have data to show exactly what proportion of jeepney or even bus trips involve commute distances of less than 500 metres, I’d hazard a guess that it is most likely a big proportion. It can be argued then that it is the Filipino’s aversion to walking that contributes to the big snarl that is Manila traffic.

Add to this, too, the astoundingly un-pedestrian friendly streets of Manila, its open sewers, its walls and sidewalks coated with human urine and dotted with greenish sputum, and the retail operations that squat on these with impunity, and it becomes no surprise to most just how big a problem is faced by those who try to even just imagine life in Manila without jeepneys, tricycles, and pedicabs.

Stunted ethic of working to schedules

Filipinos are very demanding transport consumers. They want their transport service serving them door-to-door any minute of the day. Trouble is, Filipinos cannot afford conventional taxi cabs (the kinds that are powered by four-cylinder engines and run on four wheels). So they rely on transport delivered on the cheap — courtesy of the vast pool of dirt cheap labour willing to spend their days delivering such a service for loose change.

Time dominates transport systems in advanced societies.

As such, a scheduled, limited-route mass transport service, is simply unable to compete with the sort of extremely personalised and extremely flexible service available in a society where labour solutions are overwhelmingly preferred over systemic solutions. So we are stuck with an army of able-bodied predominantly male Filipinos whiling away their time in jeepney and tricycle queues — a sea of human vitality pathetically idled and now representing a vast social problem (an immense unemployment problem just waiting to happen).

There is a price to pay for a more system-based solution to mass transport, which is a willingness to be subject to schedules. Unfortunately, Filipinos seem to lack the cultural wiring to embrace schedules. Indeed, many are familiar with the concept of Filipino time which essentially can be described in four words: no concept of time.

Such an ethic is interwoven tightly into the very cultural fabric of the Filipino and can be traced to a fundamental cultural flaw — a lack of respect for others’ property. Time is a resource that Filipinos often take for granted is precious to others. As such, Filipinos do not see any value in a collective capability to manage at tight schedules because they fail to grasp the value of the time that could be harnessed from systems that enable such capabilities. Time, in the way that the sorts of minds that design highly scheduled systems regard it, is quite simply an alien concept to the Filipino mind.

* * *

Note that the first is no more than an administrative issue. Unfortunately, the other two represent cultural defects that remain entrenched at the very fibres that are woven into the very fabric of Philippine society. A comprehensive and systemic solution to address mass transport in large Philippine cities, therefore, will require hard decisions to be made. Unfortunately democracies are not exactly famous for rewarding such sorts of decisions — specially in the Third World.

21 Replies to “Three fundamental roadblocks to improving Philippine public transport”

  1. Orion’s glowing, gushing ovations of Third World BRTs in Latin America aside, I believe a big part of the reason public transport will never really take off in Manila is the fact that there are seventeen mayors for the Metro alone, whom I presume have antagonistic relationships against each other if not lackadaisical attitudes toward their voters as mention above. The MMDA chairman answers to them, rather than them answering to him.

    I’m not sure which category of the three you mentioned the whole “aversion to authority” fits into. Maybe all of them. But I’ve noticed that what made third-world BRTs so successful where they have been successfully implemented is this almost authoritarian (presidential, dare I say?) mayoral presence.

    The only one could get that in the Metropolitan Manila area is to elevate the MMDA chairman to a reinstated Governorship and have the seventeen “mayors” as part of the Council. But good luck getting that to work when Manila’s only governor was Doña Imeldific.

    1. A possible solution to that (which would still be incredibly difficult to get people to accept, I’ll grant) is to follow the US model of a transportation district authority. Personally, I think the MMDA’s mandate is too broad as it is. Develop a “Metro Manila Transport Authority” which has control over all public transportation — and ONLY public transportation — in the NCR. It could even be operated as a GOCC, which would hypothetically add some incentive for efficiency and take some of the subsidy burden off the government.

      Now obviously, all TA’s in the States are not uniformly successful or well-run, but that is because most of them are in-line government agencies, and so are at the mercy of the quality of the people running them. Put those people at the mercy of shareholders, however, and they’d tend to put a little more effort into it. Just make sure to make the top executive positions subject to meritocratic hiring and not political appointment.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a Transport Authority would be controlled by a city or county government?

        Barring a metro-unification, the MMTA and all its authority over public transportation would have to be placed under the auspices of the MMDA, perhaps in direct control by the Chairman.

  2. In other European countries; that are very much concerned with their environment pollution. They have a set-aside space on their roads and highways, for: people riding in bicycles…Bicycles do not use fossil fuels…they are clean and do not pollute the air…they can be powered by humans…and they can take you anywhere, you want…
    I went bicycling with my friend in Germany, last month…I enjoyed the landscapes…we met other people, on the way…we stopped and chat…afterward, we stop at a wayside Inn to enjoy German Beer and Sausages…very memorable experience in Deutchland…

  3. I must say this is a good article to discuss. This is, unfortunately, one of our biggest problems –transportation. Too many vehicles, too many commuters, too many everything.

    Your solutions are great and, yes, you made a lot of valid solutions on how to solve the transportation problems we’re having, but I like to discuss about your solutions based on my opinions on why things are still the same as they are.

    Ok, honestly, I hate citing data or statistics, they seldom help because sometimes experts do some “magic trick” on them to make it appear that there is no problem. So to skip those unnecessary data, I experience it myself.

    Since I myself hate cars because of their costly everything from taxes to their maintenance, though I have a hired driver to drive me, I prefer public transportation. I like mingling with common people. It makes me normal.

    First is about your solution on letting drivers rent the jeepneys they are driving. This solution has already been done for a long time. The problem is, only middle-class people do it not the power businessmen. Here’s why.

    One time while I was taking a taxi, I was joking around with the driver about current events. Sorry I’m a people’s person. Anyway, I asked the driver if running a transportation business is a good one.
    He told me to never go into this business because the biggest problem you’ll have here is a headache. He said that you’ve got to buy a lot of Advil if you want this business.

    So what are the problems that he said? Problems about drivers having accidents, drivers who are stealing money, maintenance of the vehicles and most importantly, the rising gasoline prices. There are still a lot more he said but I forgot the rest so sorry about that.

    Another driver I encountered, in a jeepney this time, told me that he earns around 350 pesos a day after a days work. He would earn around 1000 pesos on a round trip and 350 there is his and the rest is for gas, food and the owner of the jeep. The biggest problem here is the rising gas prices, because of that, the owners of the jeep have no choice but to let go of the driver and sell the jeep since it’s not a viable business anymore not unless you own the jeep yourself.

    The “prangkisa” itself, the one they use as a license for collecting the proper jeepney fare, would cost alone around 100,000 pesos depending on the distance covered by the jeepney. The tires alone would cost 500 every two weeks or per month because they use the jeep everyday that does not include the maintenance and the repair cost.

    The biggest blunder here, believe it or not, are the “buhayas”, as they call it. The policemen, MMDA and the smoke belching buttheads monitoring the roads. They tend to pull off drivers just to make a quick buck. This is rampart around noontime because they always ask for a “merienda”, sometimes for no particular reason the MMDA would pull us off and would give a “reason” just to scare us on giving money to them. This happened around Pasig area a year ago and told us that our truck is violating the smoke belching act, sometimes for not wearing a seatbelt.

    At Olongapo area, I once saw a driver giving a police guy 100 bucks to avoid having a ticket. It makes sense because they told me that they rather pay 100 bucks rather than 1000 just to get back their license at LTO.

    So this is why businessmen do not want to pursue this kind of business. The gas alone would kill them. I understand why the companies did those because I saw some reports that 60% of Filipinos or maybe even more, do not pay taxes so the government have no choice but to impose a 12% VAT at gas prices. Removing the VAT on gas would not make enough money to pay the interest we owe on foreign nationals because of our debt.

    It makes sense why businessmen want the RH-Bill to be passed because higher population rate would mean higher inflation, decline on quality of workers, and decline on everything, I guess. So it’s not only about the population that’s focused why the RH-Bill has to be passed it’s also because of control of prices. I mean tuitions alone have been going up steadily for the pass years so more population means rise on tuition fees.

    Anyway the second point is about the walking. Filipinos like to walk. Believe me they do. The thing that’s making them avoid it is because of robbers. Even these guys rob at noontime now.

    Once when I was in college, I went to Quiapo to stroll around because there was no school that time and I wanted to explore the area. I saw, right in front of me, a man taking a female’s purse at noon time, and believe it or not, I saw another running away from the Police. One guy that was running was shouting “Magnanakaw!” Two events on one day, what a place that was.

    Another was told to me by a friend of mine that she was robbed on a bus. A group of guys board the bus going along EDSA around noon declared a “Holdap” and pointed a gun at the passengers. One of the robbers told the driver to keep running the bus or else he will shoot him. My friend gave her cell phone and money but the robber gave her back her sim-card. A robber with conscience great!

    A second friend of mine was also robbed along Jenny’s Avenue. She was walking along the street when a man was hiding at side of the wall and pointed a knife at her. The robber took the money and left her. Good thing she was not raped.

    This was one of my unforgettable moments when me and my friend were robbed by a group of guys that posed as UP students at SM Manila.

    They even showed me their I.D.s from UP. They told us that they are a member of a fraternity there and ask us to help them on something because one of their “sisters” is dead because of some fight with an opposing fraternity and one of them told us that we know the killer. They took us on a secluded place and the rest was history.

    I realized these guys forged a UP ID from Recto and used it to pose as a student. The charisma of their leader is very good because his speech is very articulate and his seems very knowledgeable when talking. One will really think that he is really from that school. I think these guys trained really well and observed students from UP on how they talk and move, really clever. Even robbers are smarter than Police these days.

    We wanted to go to the Police station at that time but we refuse because I was informed that the Police where involved in that operation. They’ll just put this case away so we just wanted to forget the incident besides they only took our money.

    So in other words, walking is not an option these days, not unless you’re near a Police station or a 7/11 store. I can’t blame people for taking the jeep because with all the robbers today, not even we are safe outside.

    Your third solution is good too but apparently, even that is prone to robbers. People have to do all things in haste these days because robbers tend to prey people especially at night time. One incident I went from Cardona, much farther than Antipolo, I was helping one of my friend complete his cases on his Nursing degree. A nurse told us to not go out late because around 7 pm, there will be no jeep around to pick them up. I asked them why and she told me that robbers tend to rob passengers on the jeepney. Bad thing is the driver of the jeepney is involved.

    The driver will go into a secluded place and another robber posing as a passenger will signal the jeep to stop and would stay at the back. The driver will turn down the lights and would declare a “holdap.”

    I can’t really blame some people for not observing the time. They want to go home fast because they want a safe way home.

    The problem here, in my opinion, are not infrastructures, vehicles or the law. Though we have problems on those too but it’s not really the one that is going to destroy out transportation. It’s people. Greedy police men, robbers, and criminal activities poses a big threat here. A really big one and that includes the population growth.

    Yes, statistics and citing research will help you but if you experience it first hand, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. What complicates things are not things or laws, its people preying on people.

    I was following the news and most of the Police have caught during the years are only pawns of syndicates not crime lords. I mean where are the crime lords? Forget the pawns, hit the source. You catch the crime lord and you catch the entire syndicate. How about terrorists? That’s another threat. Population is another threat.

    It’s people, that’s the real problem in my terms. The solution is rather simple but hard. In the art of war, to solve a problem, you have to start at the bottom of the system and move your way up. If you can’t solve the basic needs, don’t even bother going up on the ladder.

    A great way to see this clearly is using “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” as a guide. The basic is food, shelter, clothing and safety. You don’t have to eradicate the problems here, you just have to lower them. If you lower the danger in the “safety” side then transportation will be much more easy to handle.

    1. In Kyoto where I live, a city of over a million people, well two million if you count those living in the periphery, the public transport system is quite efficient. We have very efficient public buses and also private buses owned by train operators too. I think Japan has mastered the art of partnership between the private and public sectors. The government of course sets the standard, clean, efficiently running buses that arrive on time at designated bus stops and bus drivers that are courteous and alert all the time.

      There are compulsory rest times for the drivers and they take turns in taking rests at bus depots, making sure accidents are avoided with tired and overworked drivers. Most of all, the salaries of bus drivers here I read somewhere would make Marx turn in his grave, the work they do gets valued equal to that of a government prosecutor. Most of the senior drivers get something like 6,000 dollars a month. That is why bus drivers take their job seriously and as a result, there are very few accidents here involving public transport.

      We can start emulating the Japanese system I think and raise the standards for safety in our public transport system. The work required is immense, but that is what government is for. We should definitely stop the “habal habal” mode of transport in the countryside, it is getting to be the norm of things there and yet this is a very dangerous way of moving people, imagine a motorbike with 6 people on it!

      1. Yes, discipline is a big factor like in Japan, here it’s not. So sad dude. Time is what we don’t have but in order to imbed the disciple here, I think leaders should set aside debates and work together, and people should now vote leaders base on their experience not popularity.

        Funny you said that 6 people on a tricycle, yesterday we saw one around Bulacan area. 6 passengers going up the road, I guess Filipinos never learn do they?

    2. I agree, it’s the people — the way they were raised, the way they are educated, and the way they were accultured. The problem — the Filipino Condition — is actually a VERY profound one. We simply lack a sufficient enough aptitude for building, designing, and engineering at large scales using system-based approaches. Nick Joaquin’s “A heritage of smallness” continues to be validated to this day, particularly when he wrote:

      However far we go back in our history it’s the small we find–the nipa hut, the barangay, the petty kingship, the slight tillage, the tingi trade. All our artifacts are miniatures and so is our folk literature, which is mostly proverbs, or dogmas in miniature. About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces–and even that grandeur shrinks, on scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts (like a colony of ant hills) rather than one grand labor following one grand design. We could bring in here the nursery diota about the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean, or the peso that’s not a peso if it lacks a centavo; but creative labor, alas, has sterner standards, a stricter hierarchy of values. Many little efforts, however perfect each in itself, still cannot equal one single epic creation. A galleryful of even the most charming statuettes is bound to look scant beside a Pieta or Moses by Michelangelo; and you could stack up the best short stories you can think of and still not have enough to outweigh a mountain like War and Peace.

      Our inclination to think small seems to be hardwired into our national psyche. So even as Manila grew to its size today, the systems that support it and allow it to muddle and crawl along in abject mediocrity are all small-scale systems that are products of similarly small minds.

      1. Yes that’s right. When a politicians show there accomplishments, I really do not believe it.

        When Gloria Arroyo was in power during the times, she said she created a lot of jobs during her first years. It turns out those jobs only lasted 6 months as a result our unemployment even got worse.

        It was another clever tactic these guys are doing really, using the media to calm the public. They say that they “created jobs” but they’ll not include the duration on how long the jobs will last.

        Another point is where she said that she created schools for the poor but it turns out, it’s just schools. She did not include the quality of the teachers and the books being used.

        They block one information on another just to make their image really good for the public. We really need a well experienced leader, not just good at knowledge but mostly by experience.

      2. This problem seems to be complicated if not reinforced by the fact that the entire Marcos affair (regardless of how bad/good it might have actually been) has been interpreted as proof that thinking big only leads to bad things.

        Visions like Philippines 2000, Angat Pinoy and Strong Republic (didn’t Erap also propose charter change?) and how they failed to live up to expectations are not regarded the fault of the small minds they went up against but as reminders of foreshadowing where big thinking might lead.

        Which leads to some interesting speculation: the SWS/Pulse Asia surveys might actually be accurate in that Noynoy’s small-minded thinking (i.e. “no blueprint like my mom”) actually runs in tune with the current Filipino mindset. Given the “heritage” of smallness stretching back so far, one wonders if the Lopez oligarchy are really just maintainers rather than perpetrators.

      3. We can argue all day. You hit it bullseye, but it is still problem…people, government, etc. So what could be the solutions? Maybe, if government leaders has the will, maybe. First they should start building mass rapid transit and streets, maybe like skyway. The president should have the will (even how unpopular it is). Private, multinational companies should get involve. Instead of building too many malls, build roads and public transport. Use technology to solve. Filipinos’ psyche cannot be change overnight. Get rid of corruption (PDAF). We have means it is just not use properly.

  4. Hi all!

    Here’s an old and very expensive idea: Why not eliminate the need to travel all together?

    Build “worker centers” where all labor intensive manufacturing factories will be located. Provide “free” shelter, utilities subsidized by their jobs, low cost food (especially if it is located near agricultural production centers), health, etcetera for workers — free and subsidized only if they have a job in any of the factories.

    The same idea can be applied to commerce centers where business people and executives can live, work, and do business all within a ten minute walk.

    Government centers and education centers can similarly be situated.

    Each Mega-City can be configured to have all these centers and cities.

    Mega-cities will have bulk transport systems for freight (goods) and people — trains.

    Best of all, by eliminating the need to travel by car to work will drive down the demand and hence, theoretically, the cost of all goods associated with travel.

    Policing will be easier too. Since you can basically predict that crime will most likely happen in worker centers, education centers, and government centers than business centers, most police on foot can be deployed in that area. Business centers can be patrolled using “private police” hired by corporations.

    Hmmm… Like i said, old idea… It’s looking like Judge Dredd already.

    1. Problem is dude there are businessmen who place their business on those places. What’s worse is they don’t pay taxes, so that means they’re running an illegal business. The BIR do not even notice those guys, some will just pay the BIR guys to leave them alone. Some bribe the Police to get protection.

      I met a lot of them around, Valenzuela area I think and this is very rampart at provinces because the security is very low.

      Another dude are illegal businesses that sell DVDs at Quiapo area. I guess you noticed them. The Policemen have a certain cut on their sale so they won’t catch them.

      Solution is great dude but since crime is rampart, people rather be employees than businessmen.

    2. @Paul Farol My thinking there is that Metro Manila is already itself the very megacity you just described. It has the provisions to operate exactly that way. It’s got the train lines (both the heavy-duty PNR tracks and the light rail tracks of the MRT/LRT lines), it’s got the Food Terminal at Bicutan which was originally intended as a multi-modal cargo interchange and storage facility with access to both rail (the existing PNR north-to-south rail line) and main road arteries (EDSA and the South Luzon Tollway).

      Manila is also served by the Port of Manila (North and South Harbour) and can be potentially served by Batangas Port for containerised traffic and Bataan port for bulk products (like grain). The Pasig River is also suitable for barge traffic and the PNR lines have sufficient foundation for rail transport of containerised cargo.

      Manila, in fact, is a wonder city as far as logistics is concerned (naturally sheltered deep water harbour with a large river to allow inland barge transport). But like most of the Philippines’ natural wonders it’s all been squandered and mismanaged by Filipinos.

      1. Speaking about that, I remember once when we were travelling along C-5 area, I remember my uncle told me that the reason why that C-5 is traffic all the time it’s because of the wrong design of the engineers on the road.

        It’s pretty clever how the engineers did the design because one of the roads leads to one of Manny Villar’s place, that’s why they spend a lot of money on the C-5 project. And because the contractor is Villar’s company it seems that he got most of the money.

        Remember the case before why Villar was removed from Senate, my uncle said that it’s probably because of that project. I don’t know. I don’t want to point fingers but analyzing the road, I think my uncle has a point there.

        Another thing when me and aunt were going to Sta. Mesa, we noticed that the bridge on Kalentong was being repaired. A year passed and I’ve noticed the repair was not even finished, weird really because they should have finished that by months now.

        My friend told me that those bridge should be repaired because the pillars are rather weak. Even at Manila area near Quiapo, my friend’s professor from Mapua said that that bridge needs to be repaired because it might fall down due to the weak structural pillars.

  5. I like your point about Aversion to Walking. Seems most Filipinos are ashamed for the wrong reasons when it comes to many things. But in the case of transportation, they’d rather be rudely waiting for PUVs in the middle of the road, asking the driver if they can get off in the middle of a busy intersection, or crowding like wolves who smell blood at “no loading or unloading” zones.

    Of course there are lines occasionally, but I notice this mostly on scheduled shuttles and taxi bays. It’d be nice if people showed this kind of discipline for all types of transport instead of shoving each other in an attempt to board first.

  6. The key to aversion to walking lies in making it an attractive alternative.

    Not only does the climate and fashion norms but also the lack of infrastructure make it an unattractive option. To be more specific, that would be the lack of usable sidewalks, adequate street lighting and pedestrian crossings discentives as bad as street crimes.

    The best example of making the urban scape pedestrian-friendly would be the De La Rosa Walkway stretching from Greenbelt to Rufino Ave. It gives pedestrians a roof to shield them from the sun and rain and allows them to be above the vehicle traffic below.

    It also helps that the distances between loading/unloading zones on Ayala make it inconvenient for bus/jeepney riders

  7. ‘There is a price to pay for a more system-based solution to mass transport, which is a willingness to be subject to schedules. Unfortunately, Filipinos seem to lack the cultural wiring to embrace schedules. Indeed, many are familiar with the concept of Filipino time which essentially can be described in four words: no concept of time.’

    It might be that I am not as daunted or as mindful of possible stumbling blocks as you are, but if we aren’t especially committed to keeping to schedules, why not design a transportation system that caters to that without the mess and the fuss?

    It’s entirely possible that I’m just rambling, but what the heck.

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