A cry from Aquino’s boss: Improve PNR stations and train services | Inquirer Opinion
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A cry from Aquino’s boss: Improve PNR stations and train services

/ 12:01 AM September 22, 2014

I fully agree with Neal H. Cruz in his column titled “The government has neglected the railroad” (“As I See It,” 8/29/14).

In my desperate attempt to get away from the horrendous traffic on Edsa, commuting from Quezon City to España in Manila and from there to Buendia in Makati via the Philippine National Railways (PNR) trains has become a way of life for me and a big number of ordinary workers. Sadly, the trip during peak hours (7 a.m. and

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5 p.m. onward) is always as worse as taking the Metro Rail Transit.

For the improvement of the service, the following doable suggestions must be addressed by the PNR management:

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  1. The old manual ticketing system must be replaced with a more efficient method. I wonder: What accounting system is

applied in the issuance of paper tickets? Who benefits from the absence of proper accounting? Could there be a possibility of fake train tickets issued right at the ticket booth?

  1. The platforms must be secured so that all passengers have to buy their tickets. Both lanes should have ticketing booths so there is no need to transfer from one track to another.
  2. The pathways to the train station must be cemented. Passengers should not be made to walk on rough, uncemented paths littered with rocks and stones.
  3. For the safety of commuters, every station must be well-lit.
  4. There must be enough benches in all stations. Requiring passengers to wait on their feet for 30 minutes and more at the station is not humane. Due to the lack, or worse, absence of chairs, people are forced to squat on the dirty platform.
  5. Enough sheds must be provided to protect passengers from the heat and rain.
  6. Tall and sturdy benches to stand on must be provided so passengers don’t have to jump into or off the high coaches.
  7. Air-conditioning units or even electric fans must be installed inside the trains. The current cooling system miserably fails to provide proper ventilation.
  8. Additional coaches must be purchased to address the burgeoning number of passengers.

The list can go on and on—too many items to mention here—on top of what Cruz discussed in his column.

As a regular PNR commuter, I have suffered it all. Being sandwiched and tortured inside the train has become an ordinary event, yet too hard to bear in this era of supposed “daang matuwid” espoused by President Aquino.

No sweet words from Malacañang can appease the growing dissatisfaction among train

commuters, unless and until true reforms by Aquino’s administration are implemented in our public transport system. Something must be done, no ifs and no buts, by

Aquino if he will be true to his promise of treating the masses as his boss. For me, his famous line, “Kayo ang boss ko,” will completely lose its meaning if he does not pay attention to the hellish ride that ordinary mortals have to go through to and from work.

Don’t we deserve better public service, in words and in deed?

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—BELEN DOCENA-ASUELO,

[email protected]

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