MRT unveils online booking system, music in trains
In a landmark announcement by the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Authority, General Manager Al Vitangcol unveiled the introduction of an online booking system for riders of the MRT system. The press conference was held at street-level in front of the MRT North Edsa Station, before the long lines of passengers awaiting entry to the station.
In the online booking scheme, riders can now reserve a spot in the line for entry to the station, and not for a spot on the train itself.
Mr. Vitangcol further clarified the advanced technology being introduced:
“The booking system is a world’s first. We will use advanced GPS technology to be able to tell a person exactly where they will be in line — from the steps outside the station to all the way to the end of the line, wherever that may be.”
The innovation allows a user to book a spot in line up to a week in advance, and is integrated with Facebook so friends can easily share and find each other’s location.
In responding to a question from an agitated rider about how such a system would benefit riders, Mr. Vitangcol had this to add:
“Let me clarify this. I am aware that smartphone penetration in our country is only at 15 percent, and not everyone has access to Internet at all times. But our priority here has never been about the majority of Filipinos. If it were, we would have bought more trains by now, diba? Besides, may free Facebook naman ngayon sa cellphone.”
Mr. Vitangcol also unveiled a second innovation to the trains, dubbed as “The MRT Experience.” In the program, all trains and stations will be fitted with stereo systems so the riding public can enjoy some audio entertainment while they commute.
“We are truly revolutionizing the way the public travels. The selection of music will include hits from MYMP, such as “Tell Me Where It Hurts,” and Sitti’s “Ikaw Pa Rin,” which is a personal favorite of President Aquino.
“The accompanying lyrics will also be flashed on the new LCD TVs installed at each platform, so that riders can sing along to the famous hits. We at the MRT know how much Filipinos love to sing and we hope this can bring a little more joy into their daily routines.”
Badgered by citizens asking when more trains are to be introduced into the system, and why this was not given priority much earlier even though everyone knew the system was at overcapacity, Mr. Vitangcol had this to say:
“You know, we didn’t really know it was at overcapacity. The people with power in government don’t ride trains.”
Today is the 1st of April 2014. Happy April Fools’ Day!
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