Tired of errant buses? You can soon report them!
MANILA, Philippines – To mark the first anniversary of the Bontoc bus tragedy, a non-governmental group is launching an online road safety campaign to push for better and safer public transportation.
On Monday, February 9, non-government group DAKILA will launch the Para! Sa Pilipinas campaign, a crowdsourcing effort to link commuters' complaints with bus firms and government agencies.
The campaign aims to hold bus firms accountable and prevent a repeat of the February 7, 2014 incident, when a GV Florida bus from Manila plunged down a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
15 people were killed – several of them musicians, performers, and artists – including Filipino comedian Tado (real name Arvin Jimenez), co-founder of DAKILA. A year later, the bus driver sentenced to jail over the incident remains on the run.
The Para! Po reporting tool, which the group is developing, allows commuters to report errant bus firms that violate rules on overloading, smoke-belching, reckless driving, and obstruction of traffic. (READ: When public transport is an injustice)
But more than just a reporting mechanism, the tool also aims to reward and encourage good bus firms by granting them favorable reviews.
But Micheline Rama, creative and strategy director of DAKILA, said the tool is more than just a way to report errant bus firms. It's also a way to provide good bus firms incentives to continue rendering good service.
"As the reports come in, we'll also be able to track the performance of bus operators and share information back to the public. Commuters will soon be able to choose bus lines based in track records, patronize well-rated bus lines, and avoid those with negative reviews," said DAKILA's creative and strategy director Micheline Rama.
The group also plans to take the information offline and share them with bus operators and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
"We hope to work with them to improve the quality of public transportation in the Philippines," Rama added.
In a statement, DAKILA said that while it continues to pursue justice, it is also seeking reforms in the Philippine public transport system.
"Every day, thousands of people ride the bus, most of which are no longer road worthy or whose drivers are over worked or under trained...Every day, thousands of lives are at risk. We urge the public to be vigilant about our public transport system," the group said.
It added: "No family should ever have to go through losing a loved one because of the irresponsibility and lack of accountability of bus companies in ensuring that the riding public has a safe, convenient, and comfortable commute."
"What happened on February 7, 2014 should never happen again. We call on the government, transport service providers and the commuting public; let us all do our share in making transport safe for everyone," the group said.
Commuters are encouraged to send in their reports, and check out the website's launch on ParaSaPilipinas.ph. – Rappler.com