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Rail transit blues

  • Written by Peoples Journal
  • Published in Newsdesk
  • Read: 238

Speed, comfort, economy, and safety.

These are the basic things commuters demand from those who operate commuter trains.

After all, the very idea of a mass transit system is anchored on these four objectives.
    
Indeed the overhead train system in Metro Manila has become the basic mode of transportation
for majority of its residents going to work, school, or place of business.
    
Considering the legendary traffic in the metropolis, the Metro Rail Transit is indispensable
because it is cheap and still relatively faster than other public utility vehicles.
    
Over the years, however, the MRT has become unreliable and a dangerous way to travel within
the metropolis.
    
The frequency of stoppage of service due to technical and other problems has occurred with
clockwork regularly.
    
Commuters find it outrageous even as lawmakers consider it unacceptable.
    
Needless to say, the people are losing their patience.
    
After all, private train operators obtain their franchise to operate from Congress, whose
members are directly elected by the people.
    
They believe that such congressional franchises are priviliges and not rights. Therefore,
those granted such rights have serious obligations to deliver the intended service under pain of
cancellation of franchise granted.
    
And so we share the frustration and outrage of a lady lawmaker whose committee is
investigating the sloppy rail service.
    
Let  Senator Grace Poe speak her mind on the recurring problem.
    
Senator Grace expressed her exasperation thus:
    
I urge the MRT management to immediately take a more rigorous technical evaluation of all the
remaining coaches to make sure that life-threatening glitches do not occur at the very least knowing
the line's current status of being prone to breakdowns.
    
The decision to suspend whole operations of the MRT lies with the management whose technical
staff are in a better position to assess the extent of the dangers. Several weeks have passed since
the MRT management assured us during budget deliberations that the line was still safe to operate but
in recent days such assurance seems dubious now.
    
While I agree that prevention despite possible inconvenience is better than having a disaster,
on the other hand, traffic is already as bad as it is, and it will get worse when the Christmas season
kicks in. Thus, we can expect more stranded commuters without the MRT.
    
Nonetheless, the DOTr presumably has the technical expertise to assess the safety of the
trains. If they do not act on this or continue to turn a blind eye, then the blame ultimately rests on
their shoulders.
    
Our thoughts exactly.