“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized,” celebrated American architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham once said.
These words capture the very essence of Burnham’s spirit—one that represents his vision and principles as to how highly livable cities should be designed. Burnham was of course the man behind Manila’s original masterplan, appointed by the Commonwealth government in 1906 with the objective to transform the city from an old colonial outpost to a modern urban area adapted to changed times and needs.
Fast forward to today. Imagine regular employees living on the outside of the urban center spending five hours of their daily lives to commute, going to and from work in Central Business Districts (CBDs) such as Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas, Madrigal Business Park, and Makati. If this were the case and considering a 40 year economic life-span, a person will be wasting 4,000 plus hours of his economic life. Unfortunately, this has been a way of life for many employees the past few years due to the horrible and even worsening condition of our roads and our overall transport system. However, all hope is not lost. The problems that have brought us to this ill-fated condition have been identified and a realistic and comprehensive action plan is needed, backed up by five pillars of development: visionary leadership, strong political will, good planning, good design, and good governance.
Felino “Jun”Palafox of Palafox Associates, a multi-disciplinary firm with services in Architecture and Urban Planning, said that Manila has been following the wrong model for urbanism. Our leaders envision Metro Manila as a driven city—an urban area of seemingly endless roads where elevated highways are built atop another, of concrete megaliths that are crowded during the day and empty at night, and of people who toil inside these concrete blocks but live in another part of the city, preferably in one of those identical suburban houses with a two-car garage. Something like our version of the American dream.
This is just the sort of urban planning we should move away from. Considering the daily grind of the riding public, why follow a model that’s been proven time and again to be flawed? It was never friendly to the general population.
Sadly, our transport problems are a result of a lack of comprehensive planning; Metro Manila became an urban workshop on how-not-to-do-it. Not only do we have a shortage of convenient and efficient transport options, but also congestion is aggravated by the limited access to CBDs due to the presence of low-density, gated residential communities and military camps surrounding it. Add to the fact that we have a problematic traffic scheme that falsely addresses the volume situation. One measure to ease traffic congestion in major roads is for adjacent developments such as subdivisions and military camps to open up their gates for public access which has since been met with mixed reactions. From a wider perspective, new urban centers should be developed in order to serve as counter-magnets to the rapid expansion of Metro Manila.
The traffic situation is not only problematic to motorists but it greatly affects the riding public particularly the senior citizens and people with disabilities (PWDs). Transport problems should not only be addressed from the supply side but also from the demand side. Segregated and safe pedestrian facilities and bicycle lanes should be provided in order to encourage walking and cycling, and a greater consideration for the elderly and for the PWDs.
Transport is at the heart of how we live our lives. It helps us get to work, stay in touch with friends and family, contribute to society and access vital services like healthcare and education. Easy access to transport is central to building a stronger, fairer economy. While many take for granted the ability to travel easily from A to B, this is not the reality for everyone. For our ageing population, and a significant fraction of persons with disability, access to transport can be far from straightforward. It is important for us to make sure that the elderly and PWDs have the same access to transport as everyone else, and that they are able to travel easily, confidently and without affordably, if not free.
Many senior citizens and PWDs have been going on without full knowledge of their rights and benefits. Many have gotten used to the practice of paying full price, falling in line, and being self-reliant as they had been for most of their lives. There is nothing shameful in asking for the discounts afforded to them by law. Those who do demand to get their discounts, are sometimes met with unnecessary expressions from annoyed attendants. And these misunderstandings can turn into tension-filled shouting matches. To the senior citizens and PWDs, it is always best to know your rights and your benefits.
Micab’s mission is to revitalize the taxi industry by ushering in the Taxi 2.0 era – taxis that are clean, modern, and affordable, driven by cab drivers that are friendly, polite, and kind. Micab’s technology will help increase the mobility and independence of transportation for riders with disabilities, with features and capabilities like:
Micab is helping raise standards in the traditional cab transportation and aims to bring it to a whole new level through Micab’s partnership with Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) and the Association of Taxi Operators in Manila (ATOMM) and giving access to thousands of taxi units in the country. We support an inclusive transport strategy to achieve ways of giving equal access for the elderly and PWDs. Micab’s technology is transforming mobility for many people with disabilities, and we are committed to continuing to develop solutions that support everyone’s ability to easily move around their communities. It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. This is what drives Micab to make a difference in the transport industry. This is what moves Micab to lead an industry to where it should be: to make everyone get to their destination, safe and sound.