i was watching tonight's episode of imbestigador, hosted by mike enriquez. for those who don't know what the show is, it's a public affairs program that investigates on various issues in the country. most of the time, they cover scams and serve to expose people who take advantage of the hapless. but sometimes, they feature something else that veers away from the lines of exposing and raiding illegal activities.
tonight's episode involved the status of transportation here in the country. mike enriquez went to singapore, malaysia, thailand, and indonesia, and compared the status of those countries' transportation to ours.
one comment he had was about the restrooms in malaysian trains. he marveled at how the train had toilets on board, and compared to our own PNR trains, which, he said, had cars that people treat as toilets.
my mom kept commenting how mike made things sound so bad, and that he just kept putting us down. i thought about it for a moment, and told her that when it comes to transportation, we really can't compete. and that's coming from me, someone who absolutely loves riding public transportation in this city. as much as i love the training that our public transportation has given me (making me a lot braver in trying out public transportation in other countries), everyday, i can't help but lament the state of our transportation system.
everyday, i take the train, the MRT, to work. and as "convenient" as it seems, that rail system is the worst of the three in the city. sure, it takes you from one stop to another in a matter of minutes, but getting to where you really have to be is a chore. moreover, the stations are not that easy to access. sure, they're all along edsa, but have you seen the stairs that lead to the shaw boulevard platform? anyone looking up those stairs will really have second thoughts about taking the train. escalators and elevators aren't that reliable, either, making this mode of transportation almost impossible to use by the handicapped and the elderly.
when i don't feel like getting pushed around a tiny train, i opt for the bus. of my almost-8 years of commuting, i remember only one particular bus that did not deter me from putting my elbow up by the window. most buses here seem to be do double duty as cockroach colonies, not to mention universal trash can, with bus tickets, gum (HATE), paper, peanuts, and what-not littered on the floor.
and should i really get started on the driving, the pockmarked roads, and the utter lack of a proper system of loading and unloading? even with the rails that line the sidewalks, preventing people from just getting on and off anywhere, people still risk life and limb just to get on their bus of choice. drivers seem to think they're maneuvering tiny sports cars, with the way they swerve in and out from lane to lane, further devastating their already dilapidated vehicles.
and that's why i can't blame mike enriquez for saying what he said. because i see it everyday. my brains get banged around in my head on a daily basis, because of the uneven roads. i always have to watch out for whatever sticky thing i might step on when i board a bus. i've gotten used to the long lines that greet me when i get off the train and try to get through the turnstiles.
what's even more disappointing is that i know we can do better, but those in power would just rather not. the MRT can be greatly improved with the addition of more turnstiles at every station, and more vigilant guards who can keep lines in order. old buses should be taken off the streets, and an efficient loading and unloading system can be put in place, instead of just building railings and steel bars by the sidewalks to keep people from hailing public transportation anywhere. regular repair and inspection of road conditions will surely help, too. it will make traveling faster and safer.
and maybe we as commuters can also do our share. stop littering on buses. stop inserting your tickets anywhere inside the bus. don't just spit your gum out on the floor. please stop writing on buses, too. it's not funny anymore. train commuters can do well by not blocking entrances. just do that much, at least. stop shoving yourself in when there are still people exiting the train. follow lines, for heaven's sake. everyone will get their turn to exit the station.