WP 2020-08: Overhauling Land Transportation in the New Normal and Beyond

Working Paper No. 2020-08
Overhauling Land Transportation in the New Normal and Beyond
Jedd Ugay, Monica Lavares, Jerik Cruz, and Marjorie Muyrong

Abstract 
Most Filipinos in the labor force are commuters. In the ‘old normal’, most of these daily travelers have gotten used to traveling to school or work using various modes of public transport. But the woes of the Philippines’ commuting public have been a long-standing issue even prior to COVID-19. The pandemic therefore presents a ‘golden opportunity’ for an overhaul of the public transport system. An efficient urban transportation system would not only result in significant positive spillovers to the general public and to the entire economy, but would also allow for coordinated response to the social distancing and the safety requires of COVID-19 for the commuting public. Accordingly, there is an urgent need for (a) a rationalization of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) routes; (b) a shift to service contract arrangements between the government and PUV operators; (c) a reprioritization of inclusive mobility infrastructure investments from mega-rail, mega-bridge, mega-airport, and tourism-related infrastructure projects; and (d) alternative revenue-raising measures that also reduce air pollution and discourage private car use.

Keywords: mass transit, urban transportation systems, public services, public finance, taxation

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