Sunday, January 15, 2012

LRT Rush Hour

There are many ways to commute around Metro Manila. Available in every road is an assortment of vehicles such as jeepneys, cabs, tricycle, pedicabs and many others. Its fun riding in those, but the fastest way to get from one point to another during rush hour is riding something that doesn't get stuck in heavy traffic (i.e. something that doesn't use the roads).

No roads? Of course.

Trains don't use roads. Trains don't get stop signs or pedestrian crossings. Trains don't wait that long for passengers. In short, its faster riding trains.

Thousands of Filipinos make use of the light rail system of the country. The problem is, thousands of Filipinos go to work and home all at the same time. Some ride cars, some ride buses and some take the MRT or the LRT. When its rush hour, while roads get congested with cars and buses, the trains get pretty crowded too. Often times, there isn't much of a choice.

I got a chance to ride the LRT one late afternoon, and as expected, a can of sardines sold nowadays has more extra space inside than a metro rail car. If you don't like crowds and standing too close to a stranger, the MRT or LRT is not for you. For women and kids, not to worry because the first car of every train is reserved for women, children and the elderly.

Taking out my phone to take a photo is a bit careless, but I really had to take a shot and talk about train riding in Metro Manila. It was really awkward, trying to get an aerial photo inside and you know that almost everyone behind you are seeing you doing it. I have heard of people losing their stuff to pickpockets specially in crowded areas. Their job gets easier when there's more people and tighter space. Pulling a stunt like I did is like announcing to everyone hey, look at me, I got a nice looking phone. There's a possibility that when you reach for your device in your pocket the next time, you might not find it there.

LRT 1 1994 by John Ward
But not everyone is after you stuff. The spirit of "Bayanihan" still lives, specially on the riders of LRT 1. For some reason, passengers in LRT 1 are more warm, concerned, involved, cooperative and helpful than in the MRT. Many would take the initiative to speak to fellow passengers to observe courtesy and be civilized. On the other hand, EDSA train passengers, are mostly on the "mind your own business" thing and generally aloof. Our public transport system reflects a lot of stuff about the Philippines and how people behave.

Enough said about differences. The important thing here is everyone getting home safe and fast. The trains do their job, and it works for the mean time. Moving thousands of people everyday is no easy task, I tell you. We all just have to be thankful that there are such mass transit systems in the country no matter how congested they may be. Like in every public utility transport, we all have to guarantee our belongings are safe and secure. When commuting, always be mindful of your surroundings.