Dear DOTC, LRTA & MRT, BEEP Cards, Anyare?!

Dear DOTC, LRTA & MRT, BEEP Cards, Anyare?!

Ang blog post na ito ay nasa wikang pambansa dahil gusto ko na agad i-post ng mabilis. Agad agad.

Noong nakaraang Marso 2015 habang papasok ako sa huling klase ko sa aking unibersidad sa Maynila, ay napansin ko ang sangkatutak na posters na sumisigaw at ipinagyayabang ang bagong “BEEP” stored value cards ng LRT. “Inaabangan na ang maligayang Mayo sa LRT 2!” Halos sa bawat kanto ng bawat istasyon ng LRT, LRT2 at MRT at makikita ang mga nasabing posters. Nakasaad sa posters na ngayong Mayo 2015 ay maaari ng mabili ang nasabing BEEP cards. Sa isip-isip ko, “Aba, mabuti naman at may petsa. May aasahan na kaming pagbabago bukod sa mga hindi gumaganang escalators at elevators. Sana totoo.” Kaya umasa ako na sa muling pagsakay ko ng LRT ng Mayo ay makakabili na ako at magagamit ko na ang beep cards.

BEEP Cards Posters at LRT Katipunan, 25 May 2015

BEEP Cards Posters at LRT Katipunan, 25 May 2015

Inaamin ko na natuwa at na-excite ako nung nalaman kong magkakaroon na ng standard electronic smart card ticketing system ang LRT1, LRT2 at MRT. Pero kahit alam ko din na halos lagpas isang dekada na ang teknolohiyang ito na ginagamit sa ibang bansa tulad ng Singapore, Hong-Kong o Japan, ay natuwa pa din ako dahil marami sa aking mga kababayan ang ma-iibsan, kahit papaano ang perwisyo ng bulok na kasalukuyang sistema ng mano-manong pagbili ng ticket sa tatlong linya ng tren.

Dahilan ng pagkakataon, kanina lang ulit ako nakasakay ng LRT 2 pagkatapos ng huling pagsakay ko noong Marso. Inasahan ko na bilang nasa huling linggo na ng Mayo, ay makakabili at magagamit ko na ang ipinagmamalaki ng DOTC na “BEEP” cards. Ngunit ako’y nagulat, nalungkot at nayamot nung nakita ko ang mahabang pila ng pasahero sa Katipunan station kaninang tanghali. WALA PANG LRT BEEP CARDS! Ayun, ang kawawang pinoy commuters, nakapila pa rin ng pagkahaba-haba sa dalawang ticketing windows. At ang BEEP cards machine? Ayun, may nakapaskil na “TEST In Progress”.

SVC Machines Testing In Progress at LRT Recto Station, 25 May 2015

SVC Machines Test In Progress at LRT Recto Station, 25 May 2015

Ano po kayang nangyari sa “Maligayang Mayo”? Tila naging Malungkot at Mahabang Pila ng Mayo ang nangyari. Wala po ba talaga tayong sense of urgency DOTC? Tska napansin ko po bakit po kaya parang pang-coins lang yung SVC machines? Para pong walang pang bills? Eh kung tutuusin, mas may P20, P50 at P100 bills po ang mga pasahero ngayon. Kung coins lang po ang tatanggapin ng machines, magkakaroon na naman po ng pila sa LRT PAO para magpabarya. Dapat nga po, puro pang-bills na ang machines natin. 2015 na po. Bakit po kayo ganyan? Wala po bang nag-isip nyan? O sadyang ganyan po ang inorder nyo sa supplier para sa next na kontrata ay mayroon na naman po tayong pagkakakitaan?

Eto pa. Nagtaas na po kayo ng pamasahe mula Enero ngayong taon, pero ang escalators at elevators hindi pa din po gumagana. Bakit po kayo ganyan?

Escalators not operational. LRT Recto. 25 May 2015

Escalators not operational. LRT Recto. 25 May 2015

Sadya po bang wala kayong paki-elam sa pubiko? Bakit po hindi nyo madaliin? Bakit po sobrang tagal ng pag-improve? Noon po ang issue nyo, nag expire na kasi kontrata ng maintenance, tapos naging lugi kasi, mababa ang pamasahe. Ngayong nagtaas, wala pa din pagbabago. Ano po ba? Okay lang po na ganyan kasi nakakapagtiis naman kami? Pwede na yan. Kasi nakakauwi pa din naman kami sa mga bahay namin. Pwede nang walang air-con ang mga tren, kasi nakakapagtiis naman, may pamaypay naman. Pwede na yan kasi nakaka-akyat naman sa hagdanan. Konti lang kasi ang pilay sa Pilipinas. Pano naman po yung mga naka wheel-chair, sila lolo at lola?

Bakit po kailangang magtiis ng publiko habang kayo po ay nagpapakasasa sa sarap at lamig ng air-con ng mga sasakyan nyo na napakalakas sa gasolina na binabayaran ng taong-bayan. Bakit po kaya?

Patapos na ang administrayong PNoy, magpapalitan na naman ng gabinete. Ano ba ang nagawa ng DOTC? 6 na taon nang ganyan ang LRT, LRT2 at MRT. Anong nangyari? Sumesweldo kayo buwan buwan, pero simpleng pagkuha ng maintenance contractors ng escalators at elevators hindi magawa? Simpleng pagbili ng tama at nararapat at sulit na SVC machines hindi magawa? Bakit po kaya? Bakit po kaya? Bakit?

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Epal free? There’s a way! A looooot of ways!

 A saying says: “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Indeed, this is true to our esteemed politicians who have utmost fondness in seeing their names and faces on almost every street corners across their districts or towns.

If one politician wants to show his very photogenic face or wants everybody to know his name, all he needs to do is call a person who knows how to do stuff on MS Paint or if there’s more funds, get a graphic artist, photographer, then do some photo shoot, layout here and there and put every greeting possible, print it in a very durable tarpaulin which can withstand even the rage of “Ondoy”. Then hang or post it anywhere so the public can see it. Voila! Instant advertisement, with free greetings. Happy Fiesta! Happy Halloween! Happy Graduation Day! Happy Birthday! Happy First Communion! Happy Sectional Blocking! Happy Checkpoint. Please slow down. Happy Free Circumcision. (Okay, the last two are exaggerations.) See, if a politician wants to use public’s funds to showcase his name and face, he can. There’s a way. In fact, there are loooooots of ways.

On the other hand, if a politician wants to just serve the public without any buzz and grandstanding (which EVERY public servant MUST voluntarily do), he absolutely can. There’s also a way. In fact, there’s a loooot of ways too.

Let me cite one example. I won’t be hiding his name because I was totally impressed on his receptiveness as a public official to his constituents’ feedback.

I am residing near Parang Elementary School in Marikina City, my place is just a few blocks away. Two years ago, a construction started for a new 3-storey building inside the school. After a few weeks, I huge green tarpaulin was posted beside it, the poster says: “Proposed New ‘Q’ 3-Storey Building.” with the politician’s smiling photogenic face which covers half the size of the tarpaulin. If my memory serves me right, that was the only thing posted there, no details on the budget, source of funds, date construction started, estimated completion date, approval of gov’t agencies or whatsoever. When I first saw it, I instantly said to myself: “Ang epal naman nito.” As a taxpaying citizen, I hate ‘epal’ politicians. I commend the fact that having a new school building is indeed a noble project and the end result will surely benefit the students. But by having a huge poster there with nothing but a smiling face and hailing it as early as ‘Q’ building, claiming it as his own puts the politician’s intention of public service questionable. Did he really propose that project to help the students or to just make his self-advertisement free and justifiable? See, these questions can linger in people’s minds. Hence, putting the politician’s integrity at risk.

 As a self-proclaimed blogger, critic, or just simply an online ‘pakielamero’, I tweeted about some of his ‘epalism’. Surprisingly, he was able to read some of my tweets and acknowledged my concern.

Anyways, last 2012 during the early months, for some unknown reason, the construction halted and it just resumed late last year. Fast forward today, the construction is still on going and to my surprise, I saw the following: 

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Epal free! Isn’t it? As far as the politician’s epalism is concerned this is undoubtedly impressive!  See, if a politician wants his project to be free from any touch of epalism, it can be done! This is a great example. Trust me, the posters were not like these two years ago. Good job to the 2nd district representative of Marikina City, Cong. Miro Quimbo. Not only he is an RH Law advocate, he is now a non-epal politician and is being a 100% real public servant. Yes, being an epal can make you less of a public servant.

I have another issue. I am absolutely sure that the building’s construction started early 2011, so how come the date above shows that it just started November 2012? Maybe there were some issues before that’s why the construction was stopped for a long time.

Nevertheless, I cannot be more proud of my Congressman. I hope he can influence the representative of the 1st district of Marikina City to do the same.

We give credit to whom the credit is due. And now, I’m giving the credit to Cong. Miro Quimbo for taking a leap forward in being a public servant all the way in practicing servant leadership. You’re no longer a politician sir, and that makes a big difference.

I expect some people to criticize this blog entry for I know for a fact that it’s not well-written. Blog was published without proofreading. 

Useless LED TVs on LRT and MRT

Most Filipinos do not own a car simply because most of them cannot afford to buy one, cannot be approved for a car loan due to their economic status, and some of them just left the idea of owning a car in their dreams. Having said that, public transportation is a big role to every Filipino, almost all Filipinos have experienced riding a jeepney, tricycle, pedicab, bus, shuttle and the MRT/LRT. These modes of public transportation help the common man to go on their daily lives. But let me just focus on one, the train system in Metro Manila or what we all call, the MRT and the LRT. The Manila LRT is the first metro rail transit system in SouthEast Asia, older by three years than Singapore MRT. It has been one of the major achievements of the Marcos Administration giving the public a new way of transportation within Metro Manila, fast and hassle-free. Fast forward today, we now have 3 major train lines; the Yellow Line which is the oldest (opened in 1984) now has 22 stations, the Purple Line (opened in 2003) with 11 stations and the MRT (opened in 1999) with 13 stations. These 3 train lines are somewhat connected to each other but not totally linked efficiently like the Singapore MRT and SBS Transit systems inSingapore.

As an everyday commuter, I ride the purple line almost 4 times a week and I can’t help but to compare our train system toSingapore’s train system (having been there several times). One is LRT/MRT ticketing system, if you ride the yellow line and need to alight at a station in the purple line, you need to buy 2 tickets, one for the yellow line and another for the purple line. And yes, you cannot buy the tickets at the same time. So you need to buy before boarding the yellow line and you need to buy another one before boarding the purple line, and you have to do it again going back. Imagine how hassle it can be, not unless you want to buy a stored-value ticket worth P100 to avoid the inconvenience, but you have to buy 3 of those, each per train line. If only our government can upgrade our ticketing system just like in Singapore’s SMRT/SBS transit wherein you can buy one ticket and you can use it in any train line (Singapore has 5 lines, 134 stations linked altogether throughout the entire city), less hassle, less time and energy, not to mention how fast their trains are.

Other issues are the trains, there are trains that I think are older than me that are still being used, LRT/MRT officers, security, cleanliness, elevators and escalators and the list goes on and on. But one thing that I want to focus on is how the LRT and MRT use their LED TVs for business and not for benefit of the public. There are around 8 to 10 LED TVs in each station showing commercial products advertisements. When I first noticed the TV, I spent time watching all the ads because I thought after 4 ads, there will be an information video about the security measures the LRT/MRT is doing and what they are expecting for the public to do as well to prevent what had happened last 2000 (Rizal Day Bombing), I was expecting something like this:

But after watching all the ads, the only information video I saw was on how to do business with them by placing ads on those LED TVs. Frustrated, after I got home, I sent an email to LRT, MRT and to the DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas suggesting to use those TVs for the benefit of the public. Surprisingly, no one replied.

I am not against placing advertisements on those TVs, what I want is to use that medium to inform the public about the different security measures everyone can do to prevent such cases from happening just like in Singapore. Sure, place 4 advertisements but after that make sure that we have this info video which will make the public realize that everyone should be vigilant.

My apologies from some grammatical errors, did not proof-read. Just ranting. LOL