Yesterday's headline struck a chord in me because the city mayor of Lapu-lapu Paz Radaza asked the owners of Metro Ferry, the ferry company plying daily the Opon to Pier 3 route, to solve the long lines at the ferry terminal. She may have heard the complaints from her constituents without seeing what goes on at the terminal.
Mayor Radaza even suggested that ferry owners hire more employees to ease the congestion before the city's fiesta would take place this November. But I believe the problem is NOT with the ferry company. It is the people from Lapu-lapu City taking the ferry that caused disorder at the terminal.
For two months now, I became a transient in that part of Cebu and taking ferry boats to and from Opon for the main reason that it is the most convenient and inexpensive way to travel to the other island, Cebu City. Fifteen minutes tops and you are already in Cebu City as compared to jeepneys that usually took almost an hour to get you to Cebu City.
Why did I conclude that ferry riders from Opon are the most undisciplined commuters?
I found out that people's culture and mentality can be clearly observed through its use of public transportation. I have been to the different places in the Philippines and abroad and I could say my observations have been correct so far, albeit not scientific. And I can definitely say that commuters from Opon are the most undisciplined of all based on my unscientific observations.
Compared to the other commuters taking the air-conditioned vans from Ayala and SM City who would automatically fall in line to have a seat in the vans, these people do not know what is even a line. My first month riding the ferry was the most disgusting of all. I have been pushed, stepped on, and literally mauled beginning at the ferry terminal where Excuse Me or Please or I Am Sorry are alien words nobody would use until the ferry have docked. Like a horde of rampaging animals, these people would not give humanitarian considerations even to people bringing children, pregnant mothers or senior citizens as long as they can have a sure seat inside the boat.
I would have understood if there is only a trip or two to Opon during the day. But for heaven's sake the ferry boats come and go at a 15-minute interval or so! Sometimes, the other boat will have to wait for the other ferry to finish loading up before it can also dock.
Does breeding also reflects one capability to afford a mass transport?
The air-conditioned van is about 25-30 pesos per person while the ferry ride costs 12 pesos plus a one peso terminal fee. More expensive, more disciplined?
How many times I have heard employees asking people to make a line so there would be order and smooth flow of passengers. There was even a barong-clad person trying to man the lines but the passengers only stared an empty stare like they were high on something. That barong-clad man said, Maayo pa ang hulmigas kay maglinya pa (The ants are better because they fall in line).
Two weeks ago the ferry management changed the system at the ticketing and terminal areas. They made long and torturous ways so people would make a line. And this bothered everyone who were not keen on making lines. Or even discipline.
Even today, there are still people who cut lines and pushes to get ahead, not considering that some people were sweating waiting in line for their tickets.
When you visit the terminal in Opon as of this writing, there is a semblance of order when you see people lining up. But old ways still prevail after they have their tickets and after paying the terminal fee. Even before the boats have finished their docking procedures, people would not go after their safety and would just rush out endangering the lives of other passengers.
So if Mayor Radaza would blame the management of the ferry, I think she should take the ferry herself. But then again, mayors are given special privileges in this country and so I am sure she won't experience lining up for a ticket and be pushed around.
On the news:
Cebu Daily News: Passenger loading system