Suggestions to Philippines’ Long MRT Queue


  • Create an online system that would allow passengers to top up their MRT card through the internet or through participating retail stores.

Before you dismiss or complain, please continue reading the article.

I was in the middle of tweeting Miss Abi Valte who recently did the MRT Rush Hour Challenge. As usual, the Filipino people are not impressed. I can’t blame them.

However, I was trying to suggest her a few things but I realized it won’t all fit in a tweet. Thus, this blog post.

I am in New Zealand now. I know what you’re thinking. I might not be the best person to give advice on the subject because we are living a somewhat convenient life here. At the same time, I think we are somehow a good source of opinion since we have an established set of comparisons. Just think of Jose Rizal and our noble heroes who were abroad while they were attacking (or suggesting to) the Spanish government in the Philippines through literature.

Everyone is complaining about the queues and everyone is blaming the government. Has anybody actually suggested a solution? I’m sure there is at least someone who has already thought of this but all suggestions are ignored. I just want to emphasize it again.

How do we solve the long queues?

First, we have to know who the people are in the queue. Are they buying the tickets? Or are they waiting to enter the gates? As a former MRT rider, I can say that this line can be both. However most of the time, the longer line is for those who are buying the tickets. At least this is true for Guadalupe station and Taft Avenue.

This problem can be slowly resolved by creating an online system that would allow the passengers to reload their MRT card. At least that’s what we have here in New Zealand. Let me tell you about Auckland’s Hop Card.

The Auckland Hop Card can be bought for $10 at any participating retail store. Assigning a separate price for the card itself gives the user a responsibility to take care of it unless he or she wants to buy another one. Ideally, one passenger should have just one card. The $10 is not the amount you have on the card. You have to reload separately for it online. For example, you pay $10 to buy the card if you don’t have one yet, and pay another $20 to top up the value. So your card will now have $20 that you can use for train and bus rides. When you’ve used up all the value, you can top up for any amount using the same card again. If they don’t have computers at home to top up, they can go to participating stores to top up. The stores would have network scanners that work with the system.

What we’ll need:

  • A couple of programmers and testers to do the job. The government can either outsource this from an already established IT company or create their own team.
  • Terminals on buses, trains and retail stores – These are the scanners that tags the card on and off or reloads the card.
  • Money – Oh please. Nobody would believe that we don’t have this. Paki-check lahat ng payroll ng nagta-trabaho sa city hall at pakitanggal muna yung mga “bonus.” Ibigay lang yung tamang salary. Mga ilang buwan lang naman kamo at kawanggawa ito para sa ikabubuti ng kanilang pamilya din. Paki-check din kung gaano yung sobra sa dineclare na project amount ni Governor or Senator versus sa actual cost ng materials kung meron nga bang nagawang project. Kung hindi natuloy ang project sa deadline, pakikuha muna lahat ng pera. Kung nagamit na ni Governor yung pera, pakisamsam na lang muna yung kotse niya tapos ibabalik na lang pag naibalik na niya yung pera o kapag itutuloy na yung project. Pagsama-samahin na lang din muna natin yung lahat ng lagay sa LTO para makakuha ng lisensiya. Malaki ang maiipon natin dito.
  • If we really can not afford this, assign it as a project in a selected university. I’m sure they can do this. Any programmer can say it’s fairly easy but we just have to do a lot of tests and security checks. If the government is worried about the security, then we really have to invest and use secured payment systems. There’s a lot to choose from.

Advantages of this project:

  • Fewer MRT cards distributed helps the environment
  • Fewer people would line up to buy tickets or reload their cards
  • Lesser stress for passengers who settle their payments beforehand
  • Fewer complaints that the government is not doing anything. The next complaints would just be “your system sucks” if it doesn’t work properly. Then you can blame IT, just like what Jollibee did.

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Just doing what I got to do.

5 thoughts on “Suggestions to Philippines’ Long MRT Queue”

  1. great suggestion there. it will also help if they sell multiple-use tickets (if not done yet) at participating retail stores and post offices. and why not introduce monthly pass tickets?

    1. Sa ngayon po meron namang reloadable cards pero para mag-reload kailangan pa ring pumila. Ginagawa ko dati nagre-reload ako tuwing Saturday kapag walang maraming tao. Kaso sa panahon ngayon parang lahat ng oras busy.

  2. This works in most countries so I don’t see any reason why it won’t work in the Philippines. We have the MONEY, talented IT people and resources. Queueing for N hours actually eat up commuters’ time and energy that should just be spent on work or quality time with the family, so I strongly agree with your idea. And oh, before I forget.. Isama mo na din sa pinagdadalhan ng money ng gobyerno yung mga ghost employees na yan, sarap gawing ghost for real eh.

    1. Korek sis! Etong mga ghost employees na ito eh sana dalawin ng totoong ghost gabi-gabi. Hahahaha..

      We boast of our IT and engineering skills around the world pero simpleng online reloading system wala tayo. Nakakahiya. Haha..

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