ILOILO CITY, May 5 (PIA) -- On normal days, Dulce Ann drives her sports utiltiy vehicle (SUV) every weekday from her hometown to her office 20 kilometers away from the city, usually by herself.
However, during the May 2-3 public transport strike that grounded most public utility vehicles in her hometown and the rest of the province, the lady government executive readily took in some fellow government employees and neighbors who are also working in the provincial capital.
Dulce Ann was one of many private vehicle owners who did the same – share a ride with others who had no means of transportation of their own.
And like others who did the same, Dulce Ann’s gesture was a sigh of relief for those who were able to make the trip to the city to keep their office work commitments instead of being grounded at home.
What Dulce Ann and others did was carpooling.
MORE FREE RIDES
The provincial and city governments of Iloilo utilized their vehicles primarily to ferry their employees to and from the Provincial Capitol and city government offices, respectively.
City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog also fielded the city’s e-jeeps (electric jeeps) to offer free rides to the public at designated routes.
The Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Vallacar Transit Company joined the city and province in providing free rides.
Government agencies which had to go on with normal operations despite the transport strike, or what its organizers called “public transport holiday,” fetched their employees who are living in the city’s suburbs or out-of-town at pre-agreed points, where they were later ferried at the end of the day.
People who had to report to work or had important appointments during those two days managed to find other ways to reach their destinations and return home in various other ways.
Some like carpenters working in construction projects went to their job sites on bikes. Others hired motorized tricycles at pre-arranged fares.
People travelling over relatively short distances especially rode in trisikads or padyak.
There were those who used their motorbikes to get out of the grind. Of course, others accommodated an extra rider on their motorbikes – motorbike-pooling.
At the height of the transport strike, some people on the road were wondering why there were traffic jams in many sections of the city. One obvious reason was that there were many vehicles out in the streets as owners maximized the use of their available private cars.
Obviously too, there were public utility jeepneys who did not join the strike and went on plying their routes, of course not for free but at the usual and even higher fare rates. (JCM/JSC/PIA6)