Last night, I entered the Shaw MRT station hoping to get to Makati quickly. It was only then that I realized how long I’ve last used the MRT, with my photo shoots over, and I don’t have a friend to visit in Makati anymore (he left for the US). Of course the last time I boarded the MRT, my Stored Value Ticket was invalid, and the refunded me the difference. They also stopped selling Stored Value Tickets (prepaid tickets that have a value of P100.00) back then.
Of course that was several weeks ago, and I’m surprised they still don’t have Stored Value Tickets. But what was interesting about last night’s trip was that they ran out of regular tickets.
Lines on the MRT was long on both ends; one for those who have tickets, and another line on the opposite side of the exit, as people were paying once they reached their destination, not before. I said to myself wow, did the government suddenly trust Filipinos to pay the right amount and take their word that they got off at this and that station?
Once I reached Makati, the lines were even longer (it would put anime convention lines to shame). Apparently, ticketless victims paid a flat fee of P10.00 upon reaching their destination, which is cheaper than the regular cost (which is somewhere around P10.00 ~ P14.00). We were then issued new tickets, lined up again to exit and… freedom at last. I was going to take the bus home.
Okay, so what happened there? This is my hypothesis. One must bear in mind though that the MRT station was up and running during the presidential term of Joseph Estrada (Erap). At that time, the tickets had the face of Erap on them. The Arroyo administration though was probably less than enthusiastic to find the face of Erap on MRT tickets, despite the fact that Estrada had already been deposed (but they recognized how smart a tactic that was, and plastered GMA’s face on the LRT2 tickets). So they had the tickets change. Or rather, they attempted to do so. There was a news article a few months back at how the MRT tried to modify their tickets, but failed, either damaging the cards too much, or their machines not recognizing the card.
As a patron of the MRT, I sympathize with them. I was carrying MRT cards that had white scratches very evident on it (but managed to keep the portrait of former president Joseph Estrada), at least for the Stored Value Tickets. The Single Journey Tickets employed a smarter tactic on the MRT’s part, which had ads of sponsors on each side (so I assume if they stop advertising, the MRT will have to issue new cards again).
I suspect the MRT suddenly ran out of Stored Value Tickets as they’re planning to release new cards, probably with the picture of GMA on them. As for the Single Journey Tickets, there’s a different ad on the new one. My complaint with the new tickets though is that it doesn’t have an arrow on how to properly insert the card (although some people already have a hard time as it is inserting the card correctly even with direction arrows).
Does that mean once GMA’s term is over, we’ll have a similar fiasco again? If not in the MRT, the LRT2 then, as the next government will jealously promote is own regime? At least unless GMA manages to extend her term…
Get your copy of Siglo: Passion now. details can be found here. Of course there’s been a slight miscommunication with Fully Booked, and if you reserved a copy but didn’t pay the P500.00, well, go back and pay the said amount. The Comic Quest protocol, on the other hand, is working just fine (pay P500, get a reservation stub, and wait for the release date).