Jan 22, 2019

Here’s a good piece of news to soften the blow of the recent event in politics (the House of Representatives approved a bill to jail nine year old children! Our democracy is a sham!): Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo is working on a bill to extend the Light Rail Transit 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3’s operating times to 12 midnight. Currently, the last train of the LRT 1 leaves at 10:15, while the LRT 2 and MRT 3’s last lines leave at 10:30. “We should exert powers of the Congress and ask them to operate past 10 because the bulk of the commuters are also still away from their homes,” said Castelo.

It’s good news for anyone who’s ever had to resort to sleeping over at a friend’s place or biting the bullet and paying a huge taxi or Grab fee to go home after realizing you’ve stayed out just a tad bit too late. It’s something I’ve definitely experienced, and something my friends and I have complained about more than once. But it’s not just the night owl millennial set that’ll benefit from this. It’s also workers coming home after an especially tiring overtime shift, people who suddenly need to go to the hospital at night and have no cars nor other means to go, or students coming home after working on a school project for too long. All kinds of people would benefit from extending the trains’ operating hours.

An entire multitude of people ride the MRT 3 everyday. Photo courtesy of Mark Balmores from Inquirer.net

Castelo isn’t the first person in politics to voice the concern that these trains, which are used by many, many commuters (the MRT 3 alone carries upwards of 250,000 passengers daily), close too early, to the detriment of a lot of passengers. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said as much. “Something must be done about the daily calvary of MRT riders,” Recto said in 2014. “Metro Manila, with a population of 13 million, is now a 24/7 metropolis,” he added. It’s a valid point. It doesn’t make sense for a metropolis as big as our metro to deprive its commuting public a midnight train. The entire country of Singapore, for example, has less than half of Metro Manila’s population, and its trains are more efficient and operate until midnight. We need to keep up.

In any case, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. If an obviously immoral and unjust bill could get past the House of Representatives, then maybe a bill as helpful as this could, too. (Senate, I’m looking to you to make the right decisions for both)


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TAGS: LRT mrt-3 Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto