I recently went to Shangrila Mall in Shaw Boulevard and to escape the notorious and horrendous traffic, I opted to take the Metro Rail Transit ("MRT) at its North Avenue Station. It was a Saturday and I know that traffic in EDSA (Metro Manila's main thoroughfare) is heavy. Well, given the present traffic situation in Metro Manila every day is like going through a stop and go situation where there is more of the former than the latter. Despite every and another known, opinion based or supposed scientific solution to the traffic situation the problem still exists and persists. I even heard that if the traffic situation in Metro Manila if not given the appropriate solution, the city may become uninhabitable.
I purchased a ticket for a one-way destination to Shaw Station. What I noticed in the ticket is that (thankfully) it no longer bears the face of politicians or government officials. The ticket is of simple design without much fun fare as what these types of tickets should be. Luckily, I have not experienced that dreaded long queue of passengers. Again, it was a Saturday. And maybe because it's a Saturday, the very long line of passengers was not there. I was able to purchase my ticket in less than a minute. Usually, even during weekends, the very long line of passengers is the first great hurdle that you have to overcome in riding the MRT.
I simply tapped the ticket at the entrance where the machine is provided to validate the ticket. I headed to the yellow lines and waited for the train to arrive. After surviving the long lines, the next obstacle in riding the MRT, as I have experienced it before, is getting squeezed inside due to a great number of people. With a throng of people, the battle for oxygen supply inside the train becomes a mean to survive until the next station. You also got to be careful of pickpockets and people who maliciously take advantage of the situation. I was relieved that somehow during my MRT ride, it was less crowded and though I have not been able to get a seat, at least, the crowd inside the train is domesticated enough for a comfortable ride.
What my experience shows is that while generally riding the MRT nowadays is very inconvenient and comparable to a "survivor series". However, there can come a time when your train ride can be smooth and hassle-free. For this somewhat miraculous event to happen, I suggest riding the MRT during non-rush hours which is from 10 am until 2 in the afternoon. But of course, you can only do this if you got the luxury time or the flexibility of schedule.
The MRT is a cheaper and faster mode of transportation for commuters living the daily grind of EDSA. It is viewed as a wonderful alternative or solution to the worsening traffic in Metro Manila. With the increasing number of commuters coupled with the prevalence of train mishaps, riding the jam-packed MRT makes a lot of us think twice. But if we are on a rush, the MRT is undeniably a better alternative to our car or taking the bus or taxi.