Manila's public transit fifth worst globally — study

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 25) — Public transportation in the country's capital is among the worst in the world, according to an international study.

The 2022 public transit sub-index is part of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index (UMRI) 2022 created by US-based think tank Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley.

Manila ranked 56th out of 60 selected global cities, or fifth worst globally, ahead of Johannesburg (South Africa), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Nairobi (Kenya), and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).

The study measured cities on "public transit density, efficiency, and utilization rate and the extent to which they can adapt to address competition from emerging mobility services." Manila only scored 31.9% while the global average was at 51.7%.

"Several modes of transportation are available in Manila, including jeepneys and some metro lines. Linkages to active mobility are provided by permissive transit rules towards bikes, as well as significant cycling infrastructure. Despite these multimodal strengths, Manila's public transit system has room for improvement in speed, wait times, station density, and affordability," the study noted.

In sustainable mobility, Manila ranked 48th. The study said this factor captures "the extent to which the city is investing in and driving structural changes in pursuit of cleaner, healthier, and more risk-conscious mobility systems."

"Road transport faces challenges including the poor quality of roads in the metropolitan area and the limited regional connectivity provided by the national road network. Manila is congested and polluted, but a low level of car ownership should help prevent these problems from worsening," the study recommended.

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In the UMRI, the study's main ranking, Manila was 58th, ahead of Nairobi and Lagos (Nigeria), and the lowest among cities selected for the Asia Pacific. The ranking was down two notches compared to last year's 56th spot.

The proponents measured indicators for urban mobility across five dimensions of social impact, infrastructure, innovation, system efficiency, and market attractiveness.

San Francisco in northern California topped the UMRI while Norway's capital Oslo was top for sustainable mobility.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, led in public transit.

The study urged cities to make modern mobility systems a core part of their strategies in tackling issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation, energy crisis, and climate change.

"Efficient and equitable mobility networks are key engines of urban vitality and sustainability," the researchers said.