MRT is the most notorious public transportation system in the Philippines. Apart from long station lines and jam-packed cars, it’s the only transportation system that delivers news of a woman losing her arm and a coach getting detached from its train. It’s sad and scary but due to the lack of good transportation systems (and traffic), more than 650,000 Filipinos still ride the MRT every day.
If you’re one of the thousands who braved the MRT on a daily, here are eight ways to make your ride a little more bearable.
1. Avoid rush hour
The MRT is at its most terrible during rush hour. Tons of students and employees take the train from 7 am to 9 am and 6 pm to 8 pm so avoid those hours if you can. Pass the time somewhere or take early and late-night trips instead.
2. Hold valuables to your chest
Riding the MRT is like entering an uncontrollable mosh pit. Secure valuables such as your bag and phone by holding them to your chest. Doing this does not only discourage opportunistic pickpocketers but also prevents you from hitting people with your things.
3. Don’t wear slippers and heels
People will step on you so wearing slippers is a terrible idea. Heels, on the other hand, will only make you trip and fall. Invest on sneakers and boots to keep your feet—and your stand—secured.
4. Take advantage of Beep Cards
Don’t waste your time lining up and buying a ticket for every MRT trip. Make use of Beep cards, a stored-value card that allows you to pay for rides with just one swipe. For P100, you get a card and an initial load of P80 that you can use not only in the MRT but in the LRT as well.
5. Know your car
There are designated MRT cars for women, children, disabled, and elderly passengers. If you are part of these groups, take advantage of this privilege to avoid passengers in large volumes.
6. Don’t stand by the door
Unless you want to be shoved in every 10 to 15 minutes. Be a soldier and work your way inside the train to avoid punches and squeezes from passengers. PRO TIP: the best standing spot is at the back of the train because it allows you to lean on the end rail.
7. Memorize all MRT stations
Imagine this: you’re standing and waiting for the train operator to announce your stop until you realize you’re already two stations away. Bes, lumampas ka na and it’s no one else’s fault but yours. MRT signs aren’t really visible, especially when you’re trying to survive a ride. Be your own best friend and memorize all stations so you won’t miss your stop.
8. Keep your calm
We know how inconvenient our public transportation system is, but losing your cool while on the road won’t get you anywhere. Despite all the sweat and pushing, keep your calm and mind your manners. Always wait for your turn and let people alight first before entering the train. MRT rides aren’t easy and the last thing you should do is be rude to other passengers.
We won’t be seeing any improvements in the MRT soon so always be prepared when taking the train. Stay alert and try your best to be calm for a jam-packed yet safe MRT ride.
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