For 14 years of my life I’ve had a driver bring me to school every weekday. But now that I’m in college I have to commute. And with a taxi cab and a bus being a bit too risky and hazardous these days, I have to take the train. Taking a train, whether it be the Metro Railway Transit (MRT) or the Light Railway Transit (LRT) is never a fun experience for me. The lines, the dust, the crap trains, and dealing with the people who can’t take a hint when the train is clearly full are never enjoyable things to have when commuting.
But what do you expect from low fares from something that started on loans?
Recently, the people at the Department of Transportation and Communication(s) (DOTC) announced the proposed new fares for the MRT and LRT. And not an hour went by before I had friends and acquaintances bombard my Facebook and Twitter News Feed with complaints, rants, and negative reactions against the higher prices, and the media (being the media), releasing stories that stirred the usual knee-jerk reactions from commuters. I’m willing to bet that while 99% of the Filipino commuters gripe and spew vitriol about this matter, there’s the 1%, me included, that’s saying, “It’s about damn time.” And I think it’s about damn time that the 99% need to buck up, swallow their pride, grow a set, and just pay up if they ever want to get better quality experiences on the transit.
Why do I believe the hikes are a good thing? Six simple words: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
It’s pretty simple that 90% of the time, cheap prices mean cheap service. I think I speak for anyone with enough time to think this all through that this applies to the transits. The MRT and LRT lines were started on loans. And in today’s ways of life, 10-20 peso fares are never going to be enough to pay off the interest alone, no matter how many people take the train everyday. “So why not ask for another loan?” Caloy, since when did compounding the issue ever help solve anything? The higher prices are going to be set to not only pay the debt quicker but to improve the quality of the trains better to meet certain demands and expectations that come with the more expensive trips. You want better service? Be prepared to sacrifice some conveniences.
Think of it this way: The North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways used to be chockful of things to be pissed off about. But since the prices of toll fees have gone up, the service improves sensationally. 2-hour drives shortened to one hour or less and life on the expressways improved greatly because higher prices mean bigger demand for better service. So what does this mean for the trains? It means that with the higher priced fares, the people are in better positions to expect better service. Spending Php100 for a one-day ride means that the service needs to be better to reel in more income for the DOTC. Because while higher prices means more demands, it also means less room for excuses.
I also have my list of wants for the trains. More security, cleaner facilities, more organized stations, better quality trains, zero tolerance for any moron that tries to push his/her way into the trains like some kind of jackass, etc. But unfortunately, improvements require sacrifices, and that means more money from commuters. So sorry, folks. It’s pay up or shut up, if you want any improvement to happen at all.