One good thing about being assigned in the graveyard shift in Metro Manila: The relative ease of commuting to work compared to the hapless regular shift employee facing the daily grind of both traffic in the major roads and the overworked and under-equipped MRT-3 train system traversing the EDSA thoroughfare that starts from the North Station in Quezon City and ends in Taft Avenue in Pasay way down south.
Most Metro Manila commuters would avoid using the MRT like the plague these days if they could help it; even at night or even weekends or holidays where you expect the number of passengers to be comfortably scarce, the shortage of operational trains make it a Sisyphus-like endeavor to hope for that type of scenario. Only 8 operational trains to cater the estimated load of 600,000 passengers on a daily basis.
Add to that dismal statistics the non-operational escalators, elevators and the majority of out of service rest rooms and you get the perfect picture of the kind of drab service most people using it are paying for. That young people (who are mostly out of shape) are already out of breath by the time they reach the top floors means the elderly are in for a more punishing ordeal. One elderly woman I saw huffing and puffing in the Shaw Station stairwell looked so flushed at the middle of the flight of stairs I feared she would suffer from a heart attack.
No surprise then, that the commuting working class arrive at work already exhausted. And their day had not even begun yet! And, on top of that, also too exhausted to do anything meaningful with the people back at home because most of their energy is sapped from work and the time spent being a prisoner inside a vehicle on the commute back. We get all this while the Commander-in-Chief and his lackey for the next election, pontificates about congestion all over Manila being a sign of “good economic progress”.
I wonder if the two of them can still sing that same tune if they were subjected to the daily hell of commuting with no possible option except to wake up at the unholy hours of dawn to make sure you’re not late because (1) traffic via mode of transports like bus/fx/jeepneys are horrible and require a head-start of at least two hours relative to your location and (2) the human traffic/queue in the MRT-Edsa station is even more horrible; compounded with the possibility of endless delays due to sudden train malfunctions and/or passenger overload in the waiting platforms. You need to have another spare hour for those unforeseen “shit happens” situations that are way beyond your control.
The abysmal condition of the Metro Manila traffic had been commented on repeatedly by various writers. The recent article by GRP webmaster benign0 effectively eviscerated the system and the jokers in charge that oversees the maintenance of such services and smooth running of said system. I would like to add, if I may, another observation about an equally abhorrent trait among the general population—and the commuters themselves, like myself: Apathy. Or resignation. Whatever one might want to call it.
Maybe it’s naivete but one would think that by the number of smartphones and tablets out during the whole ordeal of waiting and travelling, you’ll get to see a dent of observations/complaints/reports/photos of the whole situation directed to the establishment or any government agency or media entity to at least make a sound or signal that things are wrong. Maybe if we get the number of tweets and other social media posts complaining about services and leadership equal to the number of selfies and online CoC players daily we can scratch a dent in the impenetrable armor of the beast that is our equally apathetic administration. I have already made a separate observation about this. There’s no quick way to fix things, but maybe breaking out of the apathetic stupor we seem to be stuck on might be a good start.
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