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EDSA and its heavy traffic is an urban legend, but not in the connotative sense of the word.  It’s an urban legend because of the gargantuan proportions of vehicles plying this 54 (or so) kilometer avenue, causing expected build-ups along major intersections.  During peak hours, passing through EDSA is a surefire dead-end to one’s destination.  Most have come up with great alternatives to EDSA, albeit costing them precious gas money.  EDSA is, therefore, synonymous to heavy traffic.

But due to the recent oil price hikes and increases in jeepney and bus fares, EDSA is slowly losing its reputation.  Just this week, I overheard on the news a proposal to suspend the number coding scheme because of the decrease in vehicles going through EDSA.  We don’t know if this is true, but if companies are calling for the suspension of the number coding scheme, then it must be something.

So to whom is the EDSA losing its decades-long reputation to?  Well, nobody need not look far, for something within the veins of EDSA lies the new congested zone of epic proportions:  the MRT.

While vehicles don’t ply the train tracks of the MRT and cause congestion within the rails, people are the ones competing for precious space (and air pockets) in this strategically impossible mode of mass transportation.  Because of the recent increases in bus fares, people have taken to the MRT to minimize costs.  After all, a bus ride from Monumento to Baclaran costs well over 60 pesos but an MRT ride from North Avenue to Taft Avenue costs one only 15 pesos.  That’s over 75 percent cheaper!

But just like any thing available in the market these days, there are trade-offs.  And with the MRT, the trade-offs could turn out to be quite nasty.  Just look at this image taken by Arbet of AWBHoldings almost a year ago:

During peak hours, this is the scene at the MRT North Avenue station.  Just imagine going through three floors of impatient passengers just to get a ride at the MRT!  BUT!  That was a year ago.  See how things “improved” now:

So yeah, the situation has since become worse than ever.  People are still falling head over heels, risking tooth and nail (and even private personal space) just to get a cheap ride.

I remember just this Friday when I went home to Mandaluyong the night before.  I was so confident I had enough time to doze off that I forgot to set my alarm.  As a result, I woke up just an hour and a half before my class that day and was surrendered to the idea of being late.  Because of that, I wasn’t able to take the bus like I’m used to doing, and had to slip through the crowd in the MRT.  As expected, it was as congested as before.

I can’t believe I weathered the MRT for over two years, going to and from school.  I had to wake up two hours before my first class just so I wouldn’t be late.  On bad mornings, trains would be so congested that I’d had to wait for five trains to pass by to be able to get in (and not decently at that).  That’s one of the factors why I opted to just board near school.

When I’m near school, I could wake up thirty minutes to an hour before my first class and still arrive early.  That way, I don’t exhaust myself from traveling and could devote more time to studying and whatnot.  No need for mortgage lenders and amortization fees for my own house, because the boarding fee is quite minimal and everything is all-in.  Of course, there’s little problem with food but that pretty much settles by itself.  And, best of all, I get to decide mostly by myself which makes my schedule very flexible.

And with prices skyrocketing these days, I can’t imagine still commuting from Mandaluyong to QC with my small allowance.  Commuting alone would take up almost half of it, so how else am I going to feed myself throughout the day?  Thank God student housing near the school is available.  Best of all, I get to be independent all throughout!  😀


7 Responses to “The perks of staying close”
  1. Psychic Advice says:

    Great blog, subscribed to your rss feed. Thanks.

  2. Dane says:

    I never saw MRT so full like those in the pictures. But MRT is the thing now, since the prices of gasoline’s skyrocketing. And oh, I miss MRT, I mean really. 🙁

    Wait, you’re still in the same place diba? Just curious. Hahaha 😆

  3. Jeff says:

    ah yes, the sight and smell of hordes of people waiting in line to ride the MRT….i HATE it sobra!

    this post actually reminded me of my summer internship wherein i had to ride the MRT from the Quezon Ave station to ortigas station….it was hell come to life

  4. Gian Paolo says:

    *surprised* The MRT gets THIS crowded?! Whoa. And I already thought the Cubao station was so crowded when I rode the MRT from there at around 2PM!

  5. reyna elena says:

    wow! that sight (on the inquirer) is real scary!

    i had a chance (1st time) to ride MRT from Ayala Station to whatever is that last station on EDSA near SM North just for the heck of it because i wanted to experience how it was.

    Ayala during rush hour – right around 5pm – was insane. It took me awhile to get up the station and while waiting for the rail car, i did not realize that there was supposed to be one entrance for women? right? at least that’s how it was explained to me by friends.

    In any case, I’ve seen women and I pity them sandwiched like sardines inside the car! Just curious how in the world they survive MRT! Not being used to the really crazy hot May temperature in Manila, you could imagine I was almost drenching in perspiration that it was a bit embarassing!

    thanks for the pic!

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