Monday, 5 May 2014

A Commuter's Life

     Taking the Metro Rail Transit can be penitence all year round; let alone endure the natural scent of man after bathing in sweat. The long and winding line going up to the ticket counter plus another line for the train ride wear everyone out. If only super heroes were true, they could have carried commuters to their destinations and prevent them from melting out. Arriving late for work has become the usual excuse. Consequently, commuters need to prepare early, lest they receive a memo for tardiness.
Commuting has become a jealous and demanding task that it rips most people the time to bond longer with the family or simply a time for at least another hour of sleep. Early birds they say get the worms. Well yes in the “then” probably because in the “now,” you will not get good tidings but disgust and annoyance over the lack of trains traversing the metro and buses that are also jammed with people. The fresh and fragrant powder scent people wear in the morning gone in 30 minutes or so from standing under the heat of the sun or by standing inside the  bus. Sunblock, head gears, and fans became necessities.
Last April 26, 2014 would have been the day that express trains would start running.  Specified routes were identified and announcements were posted on every station. People lauded the plan because it meant shorter lines and less congested trains. But lo and behold it was cancelled. The lack of coordination between the Metro Heads and DOTC led to its cancellation. When asked who was responsible, imagine watching a table tennis event.
Trains are the fastest transport option in Metro Manila. Anyone takes the train with the objective of arriving early or on time for work. Taking the bus becomes a secondary choice since traffic congestion is commonplace and worst when it rains. Vehicles are just too many in our streets. With the advent of low down-payments on cars, yuppies are drawn to buying; consequently, more cars to ply-by our streets and of course-a thicker smog.
 In spite of how crowded the trains become, especially during peak hours, people still opt for it. 
Imagine squeezing yourself inside the train with all your might. True, there will be another train coming, but when time is of the essence, what could prevent you from taking the ride, right? I myself experienced standing inside the train without holding at any railing at all. So, whenever the train driver makes a sudden stop, my body jolts and a wave of bodies follow. Bent torsos and arms with matching, “Aray Ko!” and murmurs of disgust are a common occurrence. I also got pinned on my sides that getting out for my stop was like wrestling with a python snake. If only I could drive!
Many times I said to myself that I won’t take the train anymore because of the sores I get after; but thinking at the possibility of arriving earlier to my appointment, the sores I can ignore.  

Countries like the US, Japan, and Singapore have good train systems. Their trains are well patronized. Japan’s trains alone ride more than a million commuters a day. They have more trains! 
On a lighter side, I felt better after watching on TV at how the Japanese passengers are pushed willfully inside the train and at the commuters of India on top of the trains’ roofs during rush hours. At least, I was not pushed just to get in the train nor made to sit on the roof just to get to my destination.

If only there were more trains running with less politics involved.

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