ramblings on public trains

I am a commuter.

Everyday of my life, I ride jitneys, tricycles, buses, FX and trains going around the metro. And thank God for the trains here in the Philippines! They made my life easier.

During my younger years, I do not like riding in trains. The smothering heat inside its cars makes me all sticky and smelly. Not to add the bodies that is all around you. It was as if a chemical reaction will happen that would set the trains to explode had everybody else stay a little longer than the whole trip duration. Riding trains in the Philippines back then is like subjecting yourself to torture and punishment being all cramped. Not to mention the threat of being picked-pocket. Well, I have to say that things have improved already. The trains are now air conditioned and several cars are provided solely for women, children and the senior citizens. Am not sure about the pickpockets but I do feel safer now compared before.

In every State an improved means of transportation is an indication of progress. There is a lot to improve for us, though.

Last Saturday on board the MRT on my way to Cubao, I took a seat in one of the train cars which is not exclusive for women. Meaning, there would be men in those cars. (Well, I was just too lazy to walk a little further down the station. Besides, I came from Taft station thus there are still more room in the cars.)

So, from Taft to Cubao obviously people started to fill the train cars to the brim--literally. I just realized that Filipinos do not care about boundaries. I mean, physical boundaries. It's alright for almost everyone to stand skin to skin with strangers. I didn't like it. I feel so unsafe as I stood up from my seat walking through the door and my body is touching all these people as I walk out.

I have been to several countries and I rode on their trains. (That is why, I was later convinced to ride on our trains) But I never encountered overpacked situations such as ours. It's culture so I believe.

But can't we at least respect space?

More on the previous observation.

Have we not realize that full-packed trains could mean overloading? Filipinos are never wary on these. From time to time our headlines would always bear news of sinking ships, buses turning turtle, and what have you because of accomodating passengers more than it's safe limit. In far flung provinces it is normal for people to squeeze human beings together with chickens and vegetables in every little space available in jitneys. Atop would be another roughly 20-30 people sitting under the sun and hoping to be transported alive to their destinations. It actually seems fun and practical, but is it safe? Think about it?

Under the law on transportation, common carriers are burdened with that extraordinary diligence in transporting persons and goods. This would include enough supervision on the number of passengers a certain vehicle must load for a certain trip. Apart from convenience and comfort of commuters, our transporation authority must first and foremost ensure safety. Check overloading, please.

On the other hand, I urge all Filipinos to look after ours as well. Don't squeeze in yourselves in our trains (or any transpo for that matter) just to get to some place.


Walking out of train stations is also a feat. Filing for tickets is one as well, but getting out is more stressful.

I do not understand why most Filipinos don't know how to queue in line. There are those who will cut through or nonchalantly squeeze in. We are all in a hurry, people! Besides, getting out will be much faster should everyone find a more disciplined way of filing themselves in line.

Til here, I still have to catch the train for school.

1 comment:

berna said...

I experience this every single workday! Riding trains is one of my stressors. But, choosing between crawling on EDSA or getting "bumped and bruised" in MRT. I choose the one which gets me to work faster. hehe..