browsing public transport


mar 15 2001
mar 08 2001

March 12, 2001

Riding public transport is an educational experience.

Of course, if you're forced to ride public transport, the education gets lost on you sometimes.

I rode the MRT going to school today. As usual, the queues were long. Once inside, the ride was a breeze. While waiting, I decided to observe the people taking the MRT.

Most of them looked well-to-do. There were students among the lot. I noted some of them holding cellphones. Then my mind backtracked a bit-- a lot of Filipinos have cellphones, so that wasn't really a good indicator of economic status. (note: I should write about that one of these days) Some of them looked like students.

There was a policeman among the passengers. He looked young, mid-30s I guessed. There was also a man in army fatigues at the station where I boarded. Probably part of the security forces, with the (semi) recent LRT bombing, among other bombings.

On the other hand, a non-aircon bus is a different story altogether.

I don't ride non-aircon buses that often. Usually, when I get down at Baclaran, I hop into one heading towards the MRT Station at Taft/Pasay Rotonda. Or on the ride home, I hop into one heading to Baclaran, if I can't find a bus that will pass by Las Piñas. However, whenever I do ride a non-aircon bus, it's quite an experience. You get an idea of life in the Philippines.

Once, I rode a shabby looking bus to Baclaran. It was quite late, around 7 in the evening. I left really late after a round of Counterstrike with a couple of friends. The bus was half-occupied (or half-empty, whichever way you'd like to look at it). The first few rows were occupied, so I decided to sit somewhere in the back rows.

At the long end row of seats, at the very back of the bus, sat several grubby looking kids.

The bus conductor, a stout woman in her mid-40s, spotted them and began to scold them. She recognized one of the kids, a teenager with long disheveled hair. He had pulled a knife at her once. And they didn't pay.

I observed the handful of street children. Their clothes weren't very dirty, but soiled enough. I overheard one of them talking about getting more rugby.

It's amazing what you can learn about you're own country on public transport.




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