LAKBAYAN: The New and Slightly Improved Philippine National Railway

Philippine National Railway

You think the MRT or LRT is the densest place on Earth but they would not come close to the non electric train by the Philippine National Railway. Used to be feared by many as the most unwanted transportation system in the country because of the decayed cabins and the tracks that used to be inches away from houses which are vulnerable to be run over by the train if not careful has now evolved into its real purpose as a functioning train system minus the side tenants.

The cabins are now all air conditioned and the old ones are just now junk in the main station of tutuban. I got the chance to ride the old one before its transition to the new. And indeed, traveling by train is the fastest way from Manila to the south cities like Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa. Plus the fare is cheaper than the MRT, were you can travel from Manila to Taguig for only P10. Since there are new lines under construction for the LRT which is suppose to run from Espana to Commonwealth, the new PNR seems a great alternative for the budget conscious commuter. But the thing is, unlike the MRT and LRT which have trains in just minutes, the new PNR takes almost an hour of intervals, which they post the schedules on the stations.

However, even with the new train and revived stations the new PNR still has a lot to go. Since its revival many people are now commuting via the train especially students of PUP in Sta Mesa, where I live nearby. The volume of passengers rise on the first hours of operation and the rush hour starting 5pm. At these times, the hourly interval creates a bigger cluster of waiting passengers. I actually experienced once I went on a 6pm schedule at Sta Mesa. The students plus other workers flood the station and when the train comes it becomes a can of sardines. If you plan to get off at your destination,  you have to fight your way through the sea of passengers even with 2 stations away. And yes, with the dense situation, there will be pickpockets taking advantage of the moment. There were shouting sometimes, I mean always to get attention.

With this, the promise of a better train experience would bring back to its dark days. If it would be possible to increase train intervals especially on rush hours would make a great difference. The stations seems too boring which gets worse while waiting for it, I hope they would have even a simple sound system at the station platform. On the train, DZIQ would be played sometimes. Like the LRT and MRT, its a great advertisement potential. These additional income for the PNR can be used to make toilets for passengers and also improve other services at the stations. I look forward to see its operations extended from morning to midnight. With the Southrail also revived from Binan to Bicol, this would also be a tourist  transportation potential like the Pasig River Ferry. 

I still appreciate the fact that its upgraded but they should also make actions on how to improve their services everyday. If you plan to take the train, better read the schedules first before heading to the nearest station.


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