“Once fully complete, travel time from Tarlac City to La Union, which is about an hour away from Baguio City, will only take 45 minutes at 100 kph.”
by Ducky Paredes
A Hong Kong-based group has agaion found that the Metro Rail Transit, which runs along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, is no longer safe.
Haven’t we known that all along, considering that our DOTC officials stopped the maintenance company thatwas doing the job since the beginning and changed them with their own people who knew next to nothing about trains? The hundreds of thousands of commuters who brave the long lines leading to the platform every day, and who subject themselves to inhuman congestion even at supposedly off-peak hours, know all that the problems besetting the MRT 3 are not just about comfort.
Various instances of minor breakdowns are observed every day, delaying the arrival of coaches and causing untold inconvenience to the plans of passengers.
All these, they bear with heroic patience that only Filipinos seem capable of.
Even that instance when a coach overshot the railway, or when a train door sprung open while the MRT was running, commuters continued to patronize the trains.
The transport secretary says people always have a choice, but he is wrong. His statement only shows his gross misappreciation of the plight of the daily wage earner. Their only choice is to blame our President for the rotten maintenance of rhe MRT.
The people don’t have a choice because the government does not provide any other options to get from home to school or place of work, and vice versa. The MRT is relatively cheaper and many times faster than any of the other public vehicles available.
But now we are being told that if the trains continue to run under the same conditions over time, there will be accidents resulting in substantial casualties among the riding public.
There has been a fourfold increase in the cases of broken rails over the past three years, after a new maintenance provider took over. In the past year alone, 22 broken rail cases have already been reported.
Trackworks have been rated poor. In fact, the speed of the trains has had to be reduced to 40 kilometers per hour from 65 kph to minimize risks to passengers.
But slowing down the trains is hardly a solution. As we have seen, it has only resulted in greater buildup of passengers.
That some stations are poorly maintained and that several escalators are not working hardly provide consolation, either. Indeed, in Metro Manila, taking the MRT can be a harrowing experience, especially if one is aware of worse things that could happen if things are allowed to remain in their present state.
The President has precious little time left to do something for the public to remember him by. For a while, we thought it would be the fight against corruption, but we have seen the double standards under which this fight is carried out. We thought, too, that it would be public-private partnerships, but years have passed and we have yet to feel the tangible benefits of such ventures.
Public transport has become a gut issue. It is ignominious that a citizenry which has to worry about making ends meet must also be insecure about their person and property. Then, they must also be subjected danger as they try to eke out a living. One can sense the government’s (low) regard for those it calls its “bosses.”
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Here’s a bit of good news. The 13.66-kilometer Rosales to Urdaneta, Pangasinan section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) will be made available to motorists starting Dec. 20 to January 20, 2015 to ease traffic flow to and from northern Luzon during the holidays.
Private Infra Development Corp. (PIDC), a unit of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation and operator of TPLEX, said use of this new section will be free of charge during the period.
“Many families will be traveling to and from northern Luzon during the Holidays, and this is our company’s ‘Christmas present’ to them,” said PIDC president Mark Dumol.
“Construction of TPLEX is well on track and while we still have to make a few more refinements, it is safe to use. We’re opening early as service to the public” he said.
He added that the section is also being opened to accommodate commuters wanting to travel to Manila for the visit of Pope Francis this January, after which it will be closed again to allow for finishing works.
In 2013, the company opened the first section (Tarlac City to Paniqui) of the total 88-kilometer TPLEX project, for motorists’ free use over the Christmas season. It then soft-opened the Paniqui to Rosales section in time for the Holy Week last April.
PIDC said that with the opening of the new section, the total length of the TPLEX that has been made operational in just over a year, will reach 63 kilometers.
It expects to fully complete the project, running to Rosario, La Union, in 2015. Once fully complete, travel time from Tarlac City to La Union, which is about an hour away from Baguio City, will only take 45 minutes at 100 kph. Currently, it takes motorists anywhere between 2.5 to 3.5 hours to travel from Tarlac to La Union using the old national road.
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Should we see Sony Corporation’s giving in to fears that North Korea might send terrorists to kill off hundreds of Americans at the showing of their comedy on North Korea “The Interview” or fid Sony do the right thing? Remember that a young punk shot dead several people during the showing of a Batman movie. Imagine what could have happened if Sony had not pulled the film from the theatres? I also understand that the movie really had no redeeming values. Sony must have figured the film was not worth the trouble it was causing.
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hvp 12.22.14Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.