Commuting on public transportation can be dangerous.
It’s especially dangerous here in the Philippines, where drivers look at traffic rules more as suggestions rather than strict laws.
Public transport here can also be plagued with muggers. Add to that the fact that I’m a girl and look undeniably Chinese, and the danger has just increased three-fold for me.
Given these facts (as well as the fact that I was almost mugged on a jeepney- twice), of course my concerned loved ones all insisted that I buy a car. I understand the reasoning of course- it’s much safer and much more convenient.
But I won’t do it. Not anytime soon, anyway.
Before You React-
I know what you’re thinking, because literally everyone who’s insisted I get a car has told me the same. I must be foolish, or crazy or something of that nature. But hear me out for a second.
If you’re currently living in the Philippines, particularly in the more populated areas like Manila, Cebu and even Cagayan de Oro, you’ll know that one of the biggest problems that seems to only grow over time is the traffic.
Now there are many reasons why this is so. No strict adherence to traffic rules, lack of alternate routes and access roads, etc. The way I see it though, the increasing amount of cars- private cars- on the road also has something to do with it.
Before you private car owners start to stone me to death, let me explain with this one image:
With usually only one person per car, that’s around 2 to 4 square meters of road space for each person.
The result is, as expected, added traffic.
So unless a sustainable solution for the burgeoning traffic can be implemented, I’m not going to add to it by buying a car.
Not Just About Traffic
But it’s not just the traffic and my refusal to add to it that’s formed this conviction in me not to buy a car.
There are several things that annoy me about owning a car.
Let’s start with the little things. Like parking. It’s tough. And I don’t just mean parallel parking, I mean actually finding a decent parking spot and having to pay crazy high fines just to be able to do so.
And then there’s maintenance. The upkeep. The cost of upkeep. Treating it like fragile china so it doesn’t depreciate as much in five to six years. I don’t need the added inconvenience, thank you.
And the upfront cost- I mean technically, if I decided to take out my insurance and starve myself for the next six years I could buy a car under my own steam. But why would I want to do that? I love food.
But the thing that irks me the most about getting a car is what that act supports.
It supports large automobile companies and gas companies. It supports industries that release tons of carbon monoxide annually. In some cases, it can also support a sedentary lifestyle.
Of course, I’m not saying that everyone who buys a car means to support these things. I’m sure many of those who buy a car do so because of their own needs. However, we can’t escape the fact that by buying a car instead of taking public transport there’s one more machine on the road consuming space and burning fuel.
But Public Transport is So…. UGH!
Yes, yes I know. The heat, the pollution, the sardine-like state of people inside them… it’s no wonder that so many people are opting to buy their own cars instead.
But I’m not telling you to ride them. Neither am I telling you not to buy a car. This article is entitled, “Why I’M not buying a car…,” not “Why YOU shouldn’t buy a car.” I’ve told you why I won’t buy a car. Now I will tell you why I still ride public transport.
I like looking at different people. The commuters. And I like observing them, on occasion. I like looking out the window while travelling. I like the feeling of wind on my face while I travel (in case you’re wondering, I commute at 5 in the morning so it’s mostly cool morning air in the wind, not smoke).
I like the fact that I’m consuming the least amount of space I can on a traffic-jammed street. I like that I’m travelling below my means, and saving money in the process for more important things. I like that I’m supporting what could most likely be the only source of income of a local driver.
But hey. I’m still open to the idea of buying a car someday. I imagine it’ll be small but sturdy. And I dream that it’ll be completely green, and by that I mean electric.
Bigger than this dream however, is my dream that one day I can simply ride a bike wherever I want to go here. That the traffic situation in this country will somehow ease up, pollution and its causes will be minimized, law and order will prevail, and it will be safe enough for a lady like me to simply ride a bike around the city.
It sounds like a silly dream. To simply ride a bike.
But in this country, that’s exactly what it is. A dream.