MRT-3 Train Derails at EDSA Taft Station, Distraught Commuters Tweet Their Thoughts About the 'Worst Accident in MRT History'

It's all over the news and social media. Late this afternoon, an MRT-3 coach got derailed and slammed through the terminal barrier at the EDSA-Taft station causing panic not just among the passengers inside the train but also among commuters in the area watching the unbelievable event unfold before their very eyes. 36 people got injured.

MRT Derailed
Photo from Kim Yumol

Technical Glitch or the Operator's Fault?
According to ABS-CBN, there were witnesses who shared that they already saw smoke as the train made its way towards the Taft station coming from the Magallanes station. The commuters asked the driver to stop the train, but the latter could not because it was already treading near the last station. Hernando Cabrera, Spokesman of Light Rail Transit Authority Hernando Cabrera, added that the train crashed into the barrier after being uncoupled with another train that was pushing it to the EDSA Taft station. Based on initial information Malacanang received, the derailed train initially stalled between the Magallanes and Taft stations. Following standard operating procedures, the train needed to be pushed by an oncoming train. The two trains’ link, however, was disconnected along the way.

Fear : Is It Still Safe to Ride the MRT?

While the exact cause of this horrible derailment has yet to be identified by investigators, the freak accident has undoubtedly caused tremendous fear in the hearts of commuters who ride the MRT regularly. Quoting some of them on Twitter,
Following this unfortunate incident - already being described by some as "The Worst Accident in MRT History" - Mr. Sammy Malunes, Spokesman of RILES NETWORK, a broad network of ordinary commuters of the MRT and LRT and of advocates for affordable, accessible and efficient mass transport service, published this official statement on the group's Facebook page:

Riles Laan sa Sambayanan

Press Statement
13 August 2014

The worst accident in MRT history

We commuters are enraged by the recent accident in the MRT, which is the worst in its history. This is the result of poor maintenance of the country’s elevated railway system. A huge part of the government’s subsidy to the MRT is siphoned off by the private contractor for the train’s maintenance.

Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Sec. Joseph Abaya, and Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) Officer-In-Charge Honorito Chaneco should beheld criminally liable for their gross neglect of the safety of commuters and endangering the lives of MRT commuters. There must be an immediate and thorough investigation into the MRT’s maintenance contracts with private investors.

Pres. Noynoy Aquino should also be held accountable. He has failed to solve the long-standing problems in the MRT and the said problems have only worsened under his term. Under the Aquino presidency, the MRT made news not for improvements but for corruption cases. He has refused to study how the subsidy for the MRT can be allocated wisely and has contented himself with perennial calls for a fare increase. He has refused to create a safe, efficient and affordable mass transport system which is the mandate of the government.

We also condemn the excuse made by MRT spokesperson Hernando Cabrera that the accident was merely caused by a technical problem. The MRT-3 has failed to place the accident within the broader context. The callous MRT management did not even apologize to the victims of the accident and to all affected commuters.

Commuters have long been suffering from the MRT’s grossly inefficient service -- starting from extremely long queues, to frequent technical glitches that cause delays to and confusion among commuters, to the unbearable conditions inside the train. It is most revolting that amidst all these, the government and private contractors want to impose a big-time fare hike in the MRT.

Sammy Malunes

We Need a Lasting and Permanent Solution To This Problem
This issue deeply resonates with me because I'm a commuter myself and like many of you, I ride the MRT on a regular basis. Heck, when I was a college student, I rode the LRT2 going to my university every single day. As if the frustration, pain, and hassle of having to ride a jampacked train, sweaty after falling in line for 15 to 30 minutes just to get a ticket isn't enough of a daily burden, we now also have to face and overcome our fears every time we enter those coaches. I really hope that our government would take accountability for this problem and come up with a lasting solution soon.