Making Mass Transportation More Tenable
One of the disadvantages of living in the southern part of the Metro Manila area is having to commute to the Central Business District(s), a commute that takes the better part of over an hour on neutral days, even worse when traffic piles up on Wednesdays, Fridays, and paydays. Fortunately, metropolitan commuters who cannot afford the convenience of a car have adjusted to this reality by taking advantage of a strange mix of light rail transportation, the point-to-point multi-passenger vehicles that leave and arrive on a regular basis, and a melange of the usual options such as jeepneys, buses, and FX vehicles that act like taxis that pick up and drop passengers anywhere along a given route. But the option of a light rail transit servicing people going to or coming from our southern area remains a pipe dream for the present. Pity, because this would be the best way to get to the CBD from the south.....or the north. My family decided to go to Trinoma last week by way of the MRT light rail for a couple of reasons. First, we didn’t want to get saddled with having to wade through traffic to get there from Makati. Second, my in laws and their son were in town from Chicago, and we just wanted them to savor the local mass transportation available. Getting to Trinoma before lunch was not a problem, because we beat the usual lunch crunch. But when I decided to try and get return tickets in advance, I caught the lunchtime crowd and beat a hasty retreat after seeing how long the lines – yes, plural, LINES – were just to get up to the platform and then to line up for tickets. Fortunately, we decided early on to make our return trip around 4PM, beating the crowd once again. But the sight of the long lines got my noggin working and asking why the system could not be properly addressed and steps taken to alleviate the situation facing prime time travellers. I also recalled one time that I had to make a transfer from the other light rail, the LRT, to the MRT, and gave up because of the extremely long line snaking all over the terminal. Surely, both managements – of the LRT and MRT – should be able to put their heads together to work out a solution to the problem of long waiting periods. This is true especially now that more and more people have decided to take the light rail to save time and money, avoid traffic and parking problems, and so forth. This is a challenge especially tailored for systems designers, the people who try to make things work in an efficient manner. Otherwise, people will flock to the alternatives: buses, jeepneys, tricycles, et al, alternatives that tend to leave a much larger carbon footprint. If the government is truly serious about a stimulus package (that will, hopefully, not bankrupt the nation or leave our progeny with an even larger debt burden that it hardly needs) it could consider improving mass transportation, especially light rail and regular train service. These are much needed and would certainly be appreciated even by the well-heeled denizens of business and residential enclaves.
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