MANILA, Philippines – How was your commute today?
Early morning commuters were greeted with a sudden suspension of Metro Manila Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) operations after the ssytem faced power supply problems in the northbound line of the Guadalupe station as early as 6:43 am on Friday, September 6.
Due to the suspension, long lines can be seen in MRT-3 stations, such as North Avenue. The stoppage also worsened the usual morning EDSA gridlock.
Although partial operations were made available around 9:35 am and regular operations resumed around 5 pm, frustrated commuters took to social media to share their sentiments on the public transportation system in Metro Manila.
They lamented that the state of public transportation remains the same despite promises from the Duterte administration to solve the Metro Manila traffic and provide better transportation services.
The Duterte government has conducted various efforts to ease Metro Manila traffic. Just recently, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) implemented a dry run of the controversial provincial bus ban, which netizens slammed for being anti-poor.
A modern Filipino norm
It was not the first time that the MRT-3 broke down. In 2017, the MRT-3 experienced more than 500 glitches and malfunctions during its hours of operations.
The September 6 breakdown sparked a discussion among netizens about the problems of the Philippine public transportation system and its effects on commuters.
Netizens pointed out that MRT-3 breakdowns have become a common occurrence. Luke Michael Hermoso lamented that what efforts to improve public transportation had only achieved was to maintain the consistency of the breakdowns of MRT-3.
“Walang pagbabago (Nothing changed),” said Hermoso.
Others talked about the gruelling routine that a commuter goes through every day.
James Banaag shared his sympathy for Filipino commuters. Despite the clamor from the public to fix the transportation system, its state remains the same.
“Paulit-ulit na lang aberya sa MRT. Paulit-ulit din sinasabi na aayusin na, papalitan na, babaguhin na. Hanggang ngayon wala pa rin,” wrote Banaag.
(We experience glitches with the MRT all the time. We continously say that we need to fix, replace, and change it. Until now, nothing’s happened.)
paulit-ulit na lang aberya sa MRT. paulit-ulit din sinasabi na aayusin na, papalitan na, babaguhin na.. hanggang ngayon wala pa rin. hopeless talaga dito sa atin!— James Banaag (@dearscarjames) September 6, 2019
Others also shared their experiences from the recent MRT-3 breakdown.
Rezen Paul posted a text message he sent his supervisor, to inform him he would be arriving late for work because of the breakdown. Unfortunately, his supervisor experienced the same ordeal.
MRT-3 THINGZ pic.twitter.com/NAinyXr8EB— Rezen Paul (@rezenpeace) September 6, 2019
A failing promise?
Netizens suggested possible solutions following the public transportation crisis.
Arnel Villarin believed that promises would never be enough to solve the problem as a response to the promise of the current government to improve the public transportation system.
“Any technical problems need true and real solutions [without] long setbacks,” Villarin mentioned.
AltMobility, a transport and advocacy group, is actively lobbying for better public transportation services as a solution to fight Metro Manila traffic. Fighting Metro Manila traffic further stresses the need for the improvement of MRT-3, LRT, among others. Just recently, they conducted a Move Huddle with Rappler, where they discussed possible solutions in light of the transportation crisis in the Philippines. (READ: ‘Let’s do actual things!’: Commuters huddle on solutions to address traffic)
Alt Mobility’s Ira Cruz cited the importance of improving the public transportation system as 80% of EDSA road users are commuters, yet 20% of road spaces are allocated to them. This results in the decline in the quality of public transportation as cars are given more priority.
What do you think should be done to improve the state of public transportation in the Philippines? –Rappler.com