Hopeless trains


THE MRT3 has been in the spotlight for some years due to its failed operations, but people tend to overlook and fewer express concern to the glitches of state-owned railway, Philippine National Railways (PNR).

The railway has been operating since 1892 and from that, a lot of things have changed since it started as the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan.

It used to operate for at least 1,100 kilometers from La Union to Bicol but due to persistent problems involving informal settlers and typhoons, the management had no choice but to reduce the efficiency of PNR, which now travels from Tutuban in Manila to the province of Laguna.

Though the management has been promising operational improvements to the riding public, an ordinary commuter can’t actually see or feel it. So yes, changes are not for the best, but it’s the other way around.

Since I started riding PNR, once a week for two months, the agony that I’ve experienced is much more than the number of times I took the train.

From the warm airconditioned trains, doors opening while the train is running, the unpleasant smell inside the coach, undisciplined commuters, dusty windows, lack of bleachers for passengers to sit on while waiting for the train and other things that I can’t write here because it will take a while before you can end reading this blog.

But you know what the worst part is? The unannounced delayed trips.

The PNR has an interval of at least 30 minutes, so if ever you missed a train, you have to wait. However, what I’d experienced last weekend was pure disappointment.

I have to waste an hour waiting for the train to arrive. The delay was unannounced. No tweet, no Facebook announcement, no anything. I arrived at the train station seeing a “12:38pm trip: Cancelled” written on a 1/8 sheet of paper.

My temper shot up, but I just took a deep breath because nobody will carry me if I passed out due to two reasons: the scorching heat, and the inept PNR operations. So what did I do while waiting? I sat, cursed silently, and slept.