A viral post on Facebook has shown the challenges that regular commuters in Metro Manila face each day.
Posted yesterday by 26-year-old employee KC Victoria, the photos show countless people waiting for a ride on EDSA corner Aurora Ave. in Cubao, Quezon City. There were so many commuters that they spilled from the sidewalks and into the road.
And according to Victoria, the photo was taken at 6am — that’s an hour when many people should still be asleep!
The post has gone viral and has been shared more than 3,800 times.
Victoria explained in the post how it was for commuters like her to experience this chaos.
She wrote in her post in Filipino: “This is how it is for us who take the bus every morning. We don’t take the MRT because the lines are long and sometimes we’re afraid that the train will end up stalling — that’s why [we] prefer not to join the crowd there. Sometimes we are the people who take the train but end up leaving it because of mechanical failure. It’s [become] normal for a crowd to walk down [from the station] to wait for a bus [on the road].
“We’ve invaded the road here in EDSA Cubao because we can’t fit in the designated [bus stop] area in Cubao Arayat. It’s too small. And I’m sure Cubao isn’t the only place with that [problem],” she added.
Victoria is referring to the country’s Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT), which has a station in Cubao. Infamous for its inefficiency, it broke down more than 500 times last year, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
In February this year, there was even one hour when not a single MRT 3 train was operational due to a power failure, reported CNN Philippines.
She adds in the post: “I feel bad for commuters who experience this every day. If you commute in the morning and this is what happens you might just end up crying because there’s nothing you can do. You’re not even at work yet but you’re so exhausted as if it were already the end of the day.”
“Your salary might even be deducted because you’re late. So how can you be efficient at work? Even those who are driving their own vehicles are affected because the traffic is so bad. This is too much. This is not funny.”
Observers have said that the traffic in Manila has become worse. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) came up with a driver-only ban to decongest EDSA, the city’s main thoroughfare but suspended it amidst widespread protest.
Even President Rodrigo Duterte has given up on solving EDSA’s traffic situation. He recently complained that Congress refused to give him emergency powers, which he said he needs to solve the traffic problem.
That’s why motorists complained about the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) plan to close and demolish the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which helps motorists skip the traffic on EDSA. The protests were so overwhelming that the DPWH decided to postpone it to January next year.
In a chat interview with Coconuts Manila, Victoria said she took the photo yesterday from a footbridge. A resident of Cubao, she said it takes her about two hours to commute to her office in Pasay City. She said the scene happens every day.
She said: “When the MRT breaks down, it becomes worse. It used to be that the crowd only appears at 6:30am but now there are people at 6am. The crowd will be gone only by 7:30am.”
While some understand Victoria and other commuters’ plight some people have left negative comments on her post.
This includes Robin Serrano who said in Filipino: “What if you give solutions instead of blaming the government? All you do is complain but you don’t give solutions. The only solution to traffic are ‘Flying Cars’ (sic) or ‘Teleportation’ (sic) hahaha.”
Aldryn Soriano added: “The time you spend complaining about it (traffic and commuting) you should just spend thinking of a solution and suggesting to the public. That’s the problem with you. That’s the problem with us.”
But Victoria just shrugged off the criticism.
She said: “The moment that I turned my post to public, I expected those (criticisms) but what is important to me is that I was able to voice out because it’s something that I should really complain about. If you can see those people (commuters), you’ll feel bad for them.”
She said she actually tried to read all of the comments.
“Some of them have a point but some are angry at me because I’m blaming the government. But if you want things to change, first you have to believe [that things will change]. I believe that things will change and some people will grow to understand.”
To be fair, not all comments are critical of Victoria. Some people also asked the same questions that she did, such as a netizen named JhiPeh Badjboy.
He wrote: “Where is the change that has been promised? The government has changed but the service remains the same. Where is ‘change is coming??’ You made things more difficult by making us hope for it (change).”
The poster is referring to “Change is coming” a slogan used by Duterte during his 2016 campaign for the presidency.
But for netizen Marilyn Sarte, the scene in Cubao could be blamed to overpopulation and commuters’ lack of discipline.
She wrote: “There are too many people. [There’s] overpopulation but there are no good jobs, go ahead have more kids. All you do is complain but you don’t work hard. Once you have money you use it for your vices. That’s how we are as Filipinos. We’re not disciplined. Change should start with ourselves.”
Is this scene similar to what you have witnessed during your commute? Share your photos by tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
Fast. Funny. Digital. We produce creativity that delights and influences customers. Join forces with us to slay buzzwords, rise above the noise, and sow the seeds of something great.