By Neil Arwin Mercado, Inquirer.net

After riding the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), newly appointed transportation chief Jaime Bautista said Monday he is willing to ride buses and jeepneys to experience commuter woes.

Bautista said he had a conversation with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Cheloy Garafil about possibly riding buses and jeepneys, to which the latter agreed.

“Sa totoo lang, nakita ko yung hirap ng pasahero by just looking at the lines. Alam mo, ako ay willing na sumakay sa mga bus na ‘yan,” Bautista said during the Laging Handa briefing.

(I can see the struggles of our commuters by just looking at the lines. But, you know, I am willing to ride those buses.)

“Kaninang umaga, kausap ko ang chairman ng LTFRB at sinabi ko sa kanya, ‘Tayong dalawa, let’s try riding the bus and jeep.’ And sabi n’ya game daw siya,” he added.

Based on data from the University of the Philippines’ School of Urban and Regional Planning, millions of Filipinos rely on public transportation to get to their destinations—jeepney (8,959,000) and bus (1,865,000).

FILE PHOTO: Hundreds of commuters are forced to wait longer than usual for their ride in scorching heat along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City due to a shortage of public utility vehicles (PUVs). PHOTOS BY NIÑO JESUS ORBETA