Monday, January 05, 2015

The Cebu Pacific fiasco was partly because of EDSA trafiic

That services suffer during the holidays is nothing unusual anywhere in the world. When people shop, dine and travel all at the same time, it is but natural and, quite frankly, to be expected that infrastructure and services  built and maintained to address everyday, normal business become congested and overstretched. Still, something has to be said about how bad things have turned out in Manila in December 2014.

For example, I was unfortunate to have travelled from Legazpi to Manila middle week of December. The flight was okay, but upon arriving at the NAIA 3, I had to spend six long hours just queuing for a taxi. I arrived 3 PM at the airport; it was half past 9 when I got out. The airport guard said that the it was past midnight when the queues let up the night before. One lady beside me who came all the way from Davao to give a talk at the University of the Philippines missed her talk altogether waiting for a taxi. So her flight all the way from Mindanao was for nought.

I gathered from the driver of the taxi airport that the reason for the interminable queues was that the taxis were all caught up in the traffic on EDSA and could not return promptly to the airport to fetch  the more recent arrivals.

Now, much has been made about the Cebu Pacific fiasco at the airport, allegedly with many passengers not being able to get on their flights and losing their purchased seats. I was also on Cebu Pacific for my return flight to Legazpi and I observed some of the heated arguments at the check-in counter. Two groups of passengers preceeding me in the line forfeited their seats and had to buy new ( and very expensive ) tickets because they went past the 45-minute cutoff within which to check in before their flight departure. And those passengers were holding the line because naturally they were arguing that since the plane had not yet taken off, the airline should show some leniency because it was the holidays after all, and the EDSA traffic was especially horrendous.

The point of this all is that much as we would like to blame an airline, we should not lose sight of the fact that partly to blame for the airport fiasco is the traffic congestion on EDSA. It is just that we have gotten so used to that problem, we have ceased viewing it as such.