EDITORIAL- The MRT challenge
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2014 - 12:00am

The 40-minute, traffic-free ride was fine, according to the deputy spokesperson of President Aquino. But it took Abigail Valte 37 minutes, according to her tweet, to wait in line with a horde of commuters 10 feet deep to buy a ticket at the Metro Rail Transit station at North EDSA.

Valte and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who disembarked at the Taft Avenue station on their way to Malacañang, took the MRT at morning rush hour last Monday. The two were heeding calls from the public for government officials to personally experience a ride on the light rail trains.

Transport and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, whose department has jurisdiction over the train services, took the MRT recently, but he received flak for not doing it during rush hour. He was also accompanied by the MRT general manager and several aides.

The MRT challenge was hurled after a series of mishaps and glitches in the past weeks that disrupted services in the MRT, LRT and even the regular trains of the Philippine National Railways. Some people have dared President Aquino himself to ride the MRT.

For an authentic MRT experience, the President would have to go incognito. If security escorts are unavoidable, they will also have to blend in with the crowd. Palace officials explained that many other problems were clamoring for the President’s attention and he didn’t need to take the MRT to find out what was wrong with the service.

But the challenge for public officials to take the MRT regularly during peak hours should add urgency to the need to upgrade the service. The President should also demand better performance from those in charge of the train services. Every commuter who suffers inconvenience from stalled trains and accidents will pin the blame not on transport officials but on their boss the President.

Public officials, including lawmakers, should go one step further and take other forms of mass transportation, starting with the jeepney. They must experience the inefficiency, discomfort and air pollution to grasp the sorry state of the nation’s mass transportation services. 

 

 

 

 

ABIGAIL VALTE EDWIN LACIERDA MALACA METRO RAIL TRANSIT MRT PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RAILWAYS PRESIDENT PRESIDENT AQUINO TAFT AVENUE TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY JOSEPH EMILIO ABAYA
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