Tips on How to Become a Successful MRT Commuter.

The MRT (Metro Rail Transit) is one of the Philippines’ most useful public transport systems aside from Buses and Jeepney . It is located along EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) with  thirteen stations that passes through the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City. MRT is an alternative transportation for you to avoid suffering heavy traffic. But beyond this advantage of choosing it - congestion during rush hour is a daily challenge to all commuters in opting MRT.

As an ordinary commuter, it is truly a battle royal for me in my daily routine going to work and back home wherein I travelled via MRT. Let me share you my techniques how I ruled against my day-to-day fracas.

TIP 1: Early Bird Catches Worm – No matter how they labelled MRT as the fastest transportation in EDSA, consider that you are not just single passenger. Yet, there are thousands of commuters who are willing to fight just to reach their destination. Based in my experience during rush hour, I need to fall in queue towards the ticket booth for 15 minutes, 15 minutes idle for the guard inspection and another 15 minutes to insert your MRT card at the gate. Once I reach at the track, you have to wait another 15 minutes for the train.  Because it arrived in every 10-15 min and the worst scenario do not expect that you can get inside the train on the first try. You have to wait for another one and it takes another 15 minutes. So the best option to save your time is BUY STORED VALUE or TWO-WAY TICKET. Remember, STORED VALUE CARD is PHP100 which is valid for 3 months and if you buy roundtrip ticket, that is only valid for one day (see prices at the ticket counter). By buying these tickets, you will avoid long infinite lines. Remember, getting into a train on the first try during rush hour takes lots of patience, vigor, and ability.

TIP 2 : Get Ready for the Game – While waiting for the train, brace yourself and be prepared for the next event. Expect that there will be pushing and prodding waiting ahead. But remember, never step on yellow lane while the train is about to arrive to avoid accident. When the door starts to open, let the passengers get off the train first. And be watchful, if there is now a space and a chance wherein you can now place yourself inside; go and push yourself as far as you can until the door close. Don’t mind other, mind your game. If you feel like things getting physical, don’t hesitate to elbow others – don’t worry everyone used to it.

TIP 3. Travel with nothing. – It is not suitable to ride MRT if you have heavy baggage. Imagine after shopping and you have lots of huge grocery bags and you let the guard check it one by one. And how about a 45ltrs of backpack and those wrapped gifts – in the first place you are not bringing them for the guards to open. And you have to spend longer time at the guard’s station to check it, while hearing those bad words from other passengers waiting behind you. How about a bouquet of fresh flower for your date? Visualize how it looks like once you arrived to your destination? Moreover, it is not also advisable that while waiting at the queue “Eating is your pastime” because once you’ll get there at the guard’s station, they will not allowed you to enter with food at hand – you have to eat it all or leave it at the guard.

TIP 4. Wear MRT Dress - In order to accomplish Tip 3 effectively, consider the advantages and disadvantages when choosing you dress. Especially for ladies (e.g. glampackers ) do not wear low neckline to avoid the opportunist voyeurs. High heels and stilettos is advantage of all girls who can’t execute pushing and elbowing because in just a single step on other’s toe – your opponent will lose the game. However, your best weapon is also harmful for you; imagine the risk of tripping or falling off balance when the train starts to operate. Therefore, rubber shoes, flip flops and any flat shoes will work best. For boys, sleeveless is undeniably more comfortable especially in a congested environment but make sure once you grab the hand grills and raise your armpit , you use deodorant prior the TIP 1 ; it can be your best firearm but it can be your point of entry to the world of “Shame” . Imagine, the face of other passenger were rubbing towards your wet armpit – that’s a good fight.

TIP 5 Be cautious of your things- Rush hour is the perfect moment wherein in robbers exists -While everyone are busy and the fast pacing of life happened. No matter how tactful you are on getting inside the train but if you will lose unconsciously your phone or wallet- your effort is worthless to win the game. Esp So, place your backpack in front of you. Be watchful and always check your pocket. And put your ticket in a safe part of your pants or bags or else you will pay for that at the counter once you arrived in case of lost.

TIP 6.  Try to RELAX: When everything starts to be ok. And you already secured your belongings (like mentioned in TIP 5 - just go with the flow and just feel the MRT’s movement. Expert MRT commuters are equipped with MP3 or phone with music player – listen your favorite music to divert your attention from the stressful environment. Just visualize that while the MRT move and the music play, you are the star in a music video. Make sure that you are still in reality or else you might consider other commuters as your back-up dancers. If you are not a music lover, bring reading materials (eg magazine, books or newspaper) but make sure that the content is safe for everybody or else you will notice another passenger rubbing their bulge towards you. To be safe, just bring rosary and pray that you’ll not be harmed.

 TIP 7 MRT is not a Confession Room - It is very irritating to commuters hearing some conversation in a public transportation- about the salary they received, her husband with other woman (husband with another man is interesting story), those call center agents kept speaking in English and etcetera. It would be better if you minimize the volume of your voice especially when answering your phone. And if possible, save the personal stories for conversations over coffee instead – even in your lowest tones, the person beside you can still probably hear.

TIP 8. Always remember your Goal – Since you’re already at ease after conquering the TIP 2. Keep in mind that the fight is not yet finished. Be aware that getting off the train also takes as much vitality as getting in. When you are just one or two stations away from your start point, then TIP 6 is not applicable. Always place yourself near the door and never push yourself in the middle part of the train or else you will suffer in getting out. Polite phrases such as “excuse me” and “makikiraan po” (“passing through!”) will not work. Now this time, apply TIP 2. After being wrapped up with various set of passengers (sometimes with powerful odor), always bring hygienic essentials to freshen up after a train ride. But if you really want to maximize the tax that you paid every month- there are few stations that alcohol and tissue paper are free.
Now, practice it daily – don’t worry, been there done that. It sounds funny but that’s the reality of being a traveler along EDSA.

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