"The MRT games"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.
Yes for local commuters here in Manila the MRT has been the sight of so much strife , so much suffering and you don't even have to be inside the train station to feel it! Yup standing in line under the blistering sun is enough to whittle away at your sanity.
So I was looking at the long lines one day and I realized that we could market this as a tourist attraction. Something like the MRT experience or better yet , THE MRT GAMES. Something different for the 1st world country folks.I even came up with a few ideas regarding it.Some of the sights to see and experience.
1) The Uncertainty of trains...
Will the train actually stop? will the train be here on time? will the train work only to stop? Our trains would keep you guessing. Currently there less and less working trains to go around and pick up people. Some of these trains have been put through so much load that they just break down on their own. So that there will always be a delay somewhere along the tracks. Most probably our foreign visitors who are so used to efficient running trains in their own countries might get a kick out of the very unique experience of our own transit system.
2) The uncertainty of turnstiles...
One moment it lights up green , happily eating stored value cards...the next it has some red X on it like someone stabbed it!
And lucky you . the next person who should have been the next to enter now have to transfer to another ever lenghtening line...
Yup , it is quite annoying when the person in front of you in the turnstile helplessly puzzles out why his or her card won't work but it is more annoying when the turnstile itself decides to call it quits and dies on you. You could just feel the dagger looks of all those people behind you as they are contemplating murdering you for causing something that you didn't even do.
3) Passenger Meltdowns!
People like Amalayer girl and that annoying person who wants the whole train to know that they are fighting with their significant other while talking on the phone would be another feature that trains in Manila would have. Some countries have people who ride the train in total silence. In Manila you have people talking over the noisy train. People reacting to every delay. People fighting over the mobile phones. And they are not afraid to share it to the world. Foreign visitors might also want to start their own fights in the train but that is highly discouraged.
4) Flying Trains!
Not due to Maglev mind you but simply because the train brakes don't really work at all. And like a scene straight out of Speed you would be lucky to get out of train with only a few broken bones.
Yup. Be one of the lucky ones who get on the train whose breaks dont work and you might just find yourself at the groundlevel traffic of your next station. Sure beats walking!
5) Decoupling drift!
Imagine watching the front part of the train...Now imagine watching it getting farther and farther as your own carriage slides away from it. True story.Happened more than once.
Yup the Decoupling drift is a real horrible way to start or end your day. MRT commuters have the distinct chance of experiencing it at least once in their commuting lives.
6)To The Next Station Death March!
So you just squeezed through the train. You are inches from kissing the arm pits of the person in front of you and it seems he has forgotten to put any deodorant on , someone is moving behind you and it seems like they are taking advantage of you. Someone has been holding on your shoulders like their life depended on it...without your permission.
While enduring all this and thinking that you are merely a couple of stations away from your next destination...the train suddenly stops.The doors open and the muffled voice of the train operator mumbles an apology and that you need to walk all the way to the next station where another train might be waiting for you."Might" being the operative word here since (Check #1)...
Congratulations! The Next Station death march has begun!
Well nobody really has died due to this but you might feel like dying when you are late for an important meeting , wedding , graduation , presentation....especially if you are the one giving the meeting , getting married , going to graduate or giving the presentation.
7) MRT presents Human snakes
Yes like that game where more and more pieces get added to the snake as you progress. Only this is not a game and it is an ever lengthening line that would soon stretch from your imagination and directly into your nightmares. Bladder control and anal sphincter control is important in times like these. Empty your bladder and stomach before joining the snake. You would be there for a while. This snake is part snail as well. Unlike the snake that strikes fast ,this one is content to move in a snails pace to make sure that when you finally get to the train you don't have enough patience to suffer any more indignities.
8) The Herd...
Ever wanted to be treated like a cow going to the slaughter? Now is your chance! The MRT divides its loooooooooooooooooong lines of people by barring the way with thick ropes. Once a particular area/section is clear , the ropes come down and people stampede through to the next....to the next rope. Enjoy peoples groaning as they watch the 3rd train to skip the station or enjoy observing pickpockets taking out peoples wallets and phones with the skill of shinobi!
Yup , the MRT experience just might get off the ground with all the features that I mentioned here. Time to print the new tickets for the rides.