This paper has covered the lack of safety of human hauler vehicles like the Laguna for many years. We have urged the government to take steps against such vehicles that have no papers and are driven by drivers who lack licenses and in many cases are underage. But the abrupt banning of these vehicles has come as a surprise; commuters have been left in the lurch not knowing how they will get around the city. While we wholeheartedly welcome the police drive against unfit vehicles, the knee-jerk reaction by authorities to ban human haulers without finding an alternative is not quite the way to address road safety. The ban on Lagunas could have been done in phases so that alternative means of transport could be introduced to ease commuters' plight.
The reaction of commuters has been one of frustration, and rightly so! And it is not just commuters who have been left to fend for themselves. Hundreds, if not thousands, of these Lagunas ply city roads and their drivers and helpers have mouths to feed. Precisely what they are going to do now is a question. While it is understandable that law enforcers are having a very difficult time ensuring that rules are obeyed in a country where road laws have been openly flouted for decades, this sort of shock therapy is only going to create more chaos.
There are two aspects of the matter. One is that the Laguna meets the needs of commuters on certain routes and the other being the need for road safety. And it is for the authorities to reconcile the two equally important factors equitably.