Last Friday, I rode the MRT at Buendia station going to Ortigas. It’s been years since the last time I rode the train. This was the main vein of my transportation when I was in college (I live in the South, and I studied in Diliman). It was 4:30PM on a payday. I knew the rush of people would be coming soon so I anxiously traveled to the station.
To my surprise, there were a LOT of people already in line. All the buzz that I have heard about the long line of people queuing up for the train every weekday morning is not a joke. Comparing my experience of riding the train a few years back, I noticed that the time gap between arrival of one train from another is bigger today, causing the queues on the platform to go longer and longer.
When the train arrived, it’s already PACKED with people. When the doors opened, a few of the ladies in front of the line struggled to get on the train and fit themselves in. This happened every single time a new train arrived. There were several times the doors failed to automatically close because a girl’s handbag was in the way, and they really tried to fit themselves in. Even the guard was already helping in pushing them in so that the doors can close properly.
You know what this reminded me of?
Seriously, it was like forcely fitting a stack of clothes inside a small luggage bag!
My turn came and I had no choice but to force myself in too (even if I knew there was no space already). Fortunately, I was able to get in and the door behind me was able to close without a problem. But the crowd inside! It was really packed! It’s also fortunate to note that almost all of us were females (save for a few male elderly sitting down). I had no problem being too close to them (forget personal space!). Imagine if there were men within us! I would not be surprised if the MRT would be the new favorite hangout of perverts.
Faced with this kind of unfortunate situation, people seemed to feel like this was the most normal thing to happen on an everyday basis (which I guess was true anyway). They looked like they didn’t mind much that a stranger’s face was so near to theirs. Some were even just busy looking at their phones. I struggled to reach for a pole for support, but then I realized this won’t be necessary anymore because I won’t fall sideways because we are all too close to each other!
The struggle of riding the train is one thing, getting off is another one. For each station that we passed, people slowly struggled their way to the doors. Most of the time, those that were standing at the center experienced the worst, because they got pushed by people . Another thing that left me at awe was that the people were not really irritated because of that. They were very courteous excusing themselves and saying sorry when they pushed too hard while brushing their way out, while the others were very accommodating in letting them through. A few people just shrugged and exchange sad smiles. Yeah right, this is how life is. Deal with it. I arrived at Ortigas station and I got off the train in one piece.
This experience of riding the MRT is an eye-opener to me on how bad the situation of our transportation is here in the city (if only I could really give this gift that I’m thinking for the country!). Who can we blame for this? I only have one in mind – the government. And it also lies in their hands to solve this problem. Just imagine the stress and suffering of these people when they go to work every single morning. Filipinos can really be that resilient!
I really hope the government does something on this, and that they have better plans for the MRT, and for the city’s transportation in general.