Transport department reviewing MRT's 'overstaying' charge

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — The transportation department is reviewing the two-hour overstaying fee of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 following a commuter's complaint she was charged after only one and a half hours on the platform waiting for less crowded trains.

In a Facebook post that went viral, Miriam Cabiles complained that she had to pay a P28.00 overtime fee after getting stuck in line for a ride on the train.

"(We) will continue to monitor and review the appropriateness of the two-hours overstay parameter given the operating condition of MRT-3," the Department of Transportationo (DoTr) said in statement Friday.

It explained that only Cabiles was charged the fee among the commuters who took the MRT with her.

"It is still being investigated why the other passengers that entered Cubao Station at the same time as Ms. Cabiles and exited at Buendia Station at the same time as Ms. Cabiles were not identified by MRT-3's Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) for having overstayed," the DoTR said in a statement.

It said 12 of the 341,452 passengers from different stations were charged for overstaying that day.

The MRT said Cabiles entered the paid area of the Cubao Station at 7:17 a.m., tried to exit in Buendia at 9:28 a.m., and left the station five minutes later after paying the fee. It said 10 regular trains and two skipping trains stopped by the station before she got on, adding that it was "unclear" why she did not board earlier.

In her post, Cabiles said the trains were so overcrowded "that only a person or two could get inside at a time."

"I was probably... fifteenth in line, so imagine how many trains I had to wait for just to be able to hop on," she wrote.

The MRT-3 said its data came from a review of the AFCS Central Computer System, CCTV recordings, and other train operations information from the MRT-3 Control Center.

Cabiles chastised the MRT-3 in her post, saying that it was poor government services that caused her overstaying in the platform. The rail line is notorious for breakdowns, delays, and overcrowding.  Last year, it recorded an average of two glitches a day.

"I don't plan on compensating you for your incompetency," Cabiles said. "It's probably enough that I, just like millions of other Filipinos, am paying my taxes to a government that couldn't deliver its services well."

MRT-3 management said that it would remind station supervisors to "follow standard procedures" -- such as by overriding the overstay rule and letting passengers through the turnstiles in times of service disruption or fewer operating trains.

 

Cabiles said that she has since reached out to the MRT-3 management, and is waiting for their response.