Imagine: it's a hectic afternoon during midterm week at the lower campus. A  group of students anxiously gather, knowing they have their next exam scheduled at the upper campus. With the Tuyok's usual route passing through the lower oval, they eagerly await its arrival, hoping it will whisk them to their destination on time. However, their optimism quickly fades as they face the harsh reality of the Tuyok service's indifference, only to pass them by without a second glance. In a desperate attempt to catch the driver's attention, they resort to calling out, yet their pleas fall on deaf ears. 


This experience has left students to wonder if there were any criteria set in order to board the Tuyok. Were they required to perform a secret handshake or recite a passphrase? Such thoughts, though laced with humor, underscore their genuine confusion and frustration at being overlooked. Note that this frustration wasn't isolated to midterm week alone; it persisted during their regular classes as well.


Why do we need a functioning Tuyok service? 

Distance is a significant challenge for many students in VSU, given its land area. Lucky for those whose classes are in one building, but this is VSU we're talking about, classroom availability is scarce. Students travel kilometers from one class to another with hectic schedules, not to mention some walk with heels on their school shoes. If the Tuyok system works, it could have been a  convenient solution for students by providing a dependable mode of transportation to bridge the gap between distant locations, ensuring timely arrival at classes and activities.

With the recent security incidents around dormitories, students are also concerned about their safety, especially when navigating unfamiliar or dimly lit pathways late at night after class. The presence of Tuyok could have been a big comfort for security, lowering the likelihood of potential threats or incidents during transit; alleviating concerns about personal safety.

Weather conditions can not be excluded in this conversation, as it can be a formidable obstacle among Viscans. VSU is prone to extreme temperatures or inclement weather; whether it's scorching heat, torrential rain, or biting cold. Having access to the Tuyok, provides a safe haven for students as they move around campus, which reduces the risk of weather-related health problems.

Most importantly, in the epoch of inclusive education, students with physical disabilities face unique challenges when navigating campus terrain, including steep inclines, uneven pathways, and long distances between buildings. For these people, the Tuyok is more than a convenience; it's a lifeline, providing convenient assistance to their physical needs.   

Author's two-cent fare

With further inquiry from the authorities, the Tuyok route operated for free until transitioning to a seasonal card system to fund vehicle maintenance costs. However, the capped monthly renewal fee of P100 proved expensive for many Viscans, resulting in system failure and a stop of Tuyok operations for everyday use. The university experienced difficulties in maintaining Tuyok since it couldn't continue subsidizing gasoline expenses, and hiring drivers added to the financial strain.


But is this where we draw the line in meeting the needs of students? Will there be no other options for students traveling around the 1,099.4 hectare campus? Given that the "No Habal-Habal Policy" has been in place for quite some time and how dysfunctional Tuyok has become, it's either students drive their personal vehicles, hope for the Tuyok, or simply walk and run.


As much as walking is beneficial for one's health, and as much as we love to romanticize resiliency and hard work as a facade for a system that needs improvement and development, the climate is changing and it's getting harder everyday to stand by those values, when it's a consistent routine to catch our breathe, sweat our shirts, and returned home with swollen toes and aching calves. Which by the way, they say is a true mark of being a Viscan, but maybe, as the climate is changing, we can  realize that being a Viscan also deserves to be provided by “globally competitive” services. 


It's worth mentioning that VSU Tuyok differs from normal Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) in that it is custom-built and takes extensive processing time owing to registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Furthermore, Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) drivers in Baybay City raised concern about Tuyok's lack of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) authorization and failure to fully account for fare collected. While Tuyok hasn't ceased all operations, as it still operates and is used by school organizations and departments for official purposes with fees depending on travel distance for vehicle fuel. 


This calls into question the validity and transparency of Tuyok's operations, potentially weakening faith and compliance in the transportation system. We can not also neglect that the Tuyok system fails to have a long-term sustainability plan to be in service. 


The terms "very scenic" and "globally competitive" university may appeal to some, but sometimes, it's hard to hold on to such words, when you know it's a different scene inside the university.  As Viscans, we should strive for a university experience that goes beyond superficial labels—a university that prioritizes inclusivity, accessibility, and student welfare above all else. If we can’t get much access to the Tuyok, which is promptly known to be of service for all Viscans, then how come it was made to loop around in the campus in the first place. 


As students navigating campus life, we often rely on the convenience of transportation services to get from one class to another swiftly. But, what happens when transportation services fail us in a university known for being “very sakaon”? 

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