‘It’s a pleasant ride’ -- Abaya

Posted on August 29, 2014

TRANSPORTATION and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said he wanted to ride the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) in his “own low-key, quiet way.”

DoTC Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya at the MRT -- Alden M. Monzon
Nevertheless, his trip on Thursday went with the usual coterie of fellow officials, amid the afternoon drizzle and the sparse crowd of passengers.

It is during rush hour -- mornings when passengers travel to work and early evenings when they return home -- that riding the MRT becomes an ordeal, with the commuters packed in the tramcars like sardines after queuing in frustratingly long lines amid the also-long interval between train arrivals.

Mr. Abaya said he had a “pleasant ride.” There were no sudden stops, no disembarkment on the elevated tracks, no exasperated waiting, no discourtesy among personnel and security, and definitely no derailment during his trip.

Pumila kami dun [sa Ortigas Station]. Hindi naman busy station. Bumili ng tiket. Sumakay papunta dito [North Avenue Station]. Dati naman ako pumipila. Hindi ako mainiping tao. Walang [kasamang] bodyguards (We fell in line at Ortigas Station. It wasn’t a busy station. We bought tickets. We boarded the train, heading toward North Avenue Station. I would queue up before. I’m not the impatient type. No bodyguards with me),” Mr. Abaya told reporters.

Mr. Abaya took the first coach -- usually assigned to women and the elderly -- to accompany the train operator.

“It’s a pleasant ride. I think it’s still an efficient way to go up and down EDSA -- very predictable, ’di ka [you’re not] subjected to traffic, it’s air-conditioned. So it’s really the way to travel,” Mr. Abaya said.

The response in social media was quick, with not a few pointing out that Mr. Abaya didn’t take the train during rush hour. He said he will take the train again, during that time.

Mr. Abaya said his first time to ride the MRT was in October 2012, following his appointment as Transportation secretary.

Mr. Abaya did disembark to inspect the tracks at North Station. Later he was at the area for the planned common station with the Light Rail Transit which is currently the subject of a legal dispute.

Mr. Abaya said the DoTC plans to expand MRT operations. More trains are expected by 2015.

Ang solution natin [Our solution] is to build more mass-transit systems to encourage those who use cars to use the train service,” he said. -- Alden M. Monzon