Vice President Jejomar Binay sprinkles holy water at the tomb of Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) at the Manila North Cemetery on the occasion of the 10th death anniversary of the acknowledged Filipino movie king on Sunday (Dec.14, 2014). Also in photo are Senator Grace Poe and movie-TV actress Susan Roces (2nd from left). (MNS photo)

Vice President Jejomar Binay sprinkles holy water at the tomb of Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) at the Manila North Cemetery on the occasion of the 10th death anniversary of the acknowledged Filipino movie king on Sunday (Dec.14, 2014). Also in photo are Senator Grace Poe and movie-TV actress Susan Roces (2nd from left). (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Commuters gave the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) trains a failing grade in terms of maintenance works on the 15-year-old mass transport system.

At a hearing of the Senate committee on public services on Wednesday, chairman Sen. Grace Poe presented an independent survey done by her office covering about a hundred daily commuters of MRT.

Using the grading system of the University of the Philippines, the 13 stations of the MRT got an average grade of 4 or conditional failure.

“Sa kabuohan ay bagsak po ang nakuhang grado ng MRT. Ang pinaka-dinadaing po ng mga commuter ay ang napakatagal na oras ng pagpila, marurumi at mabahong comfort rooms, hindi gumaganang escalators at elevators, at ang labis na siksikan sa loob ng bagon habang nag-bibiyahe,” Poe said of the survey results.

The survey focused on queuing time, conditions of comfort rooms, conditions of elevators and escalators, ease of travel or comfort while riding the train, air conditioning system and total riding experience.

In terms of waiting time in riding the train, majority of the commuters said it usually takes them 30 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to board the train.

“Disaster! It will take a minimum of 15 minutes or worse 1 ½ hours to ride the train,” a commuter from Shaw Boulevard station was quoted as saying during an interview survey.

“Heavy line. (It) took 30 minutes to be on MRT first stair step. Line moves and stops every 15 minutes or longer,” another commuter from Quezon Avenue station said.

In terms of the condition of comfort rooms, majority of the commuters surveyed complained of the foul smell, non-functioning toilet flush, filthy toilet bowls and faucets with none to barely running water.

Commuters said elevators and escalators were most of the times not functioning, and if functioning, were usually rickety and slow-moving.

“The elevator seems so old, dirty and rickety. It feels scary because it seems like it would break down anytime,” a commuter from Taft station said.

In terms of comfort of riding the train, commuters complained of overcrowding and not enough number of safety handrails.

Commuters also complained that the air-conditioning units were most of the time off, or unable to handle the volume of passengers.

“Overall implementation failed in terms of safety and ease. But like most commuters, I don’t have a choice but to ride the MRT to avoid the traffic,” a commuter from Shaw Boulevard said.

“From queuing to getting the ticket, to entering the platform, to getting in and out of the train, everything is beyond worst,” another commuter said.

Per station, GMA-Kamuning, Cubao, Shaw Boulevard and Taft got a failing grade of 5.

Quezon Avenue, Ortigas, Boni and Guadalupe were given 4.

A passing grade of 3 were earned by North Avenue and Buendia.

Santolan-Annapolis (2.75) and Ayala and Magallanes (both 2.5) got satisfactory grades.

Asked by Poe for feedback, MRT 3 officer-in-charge Renato San Jose admitted there was a real need to upgrade the MRT facilities – comfort rooms, elevators and escalators– as most of were as old as the MRT 3 system itself.

“Yes, we admit that most of them talagang dilapidated na dahiln  karamihan po diyan ay hindi pa napapalitan or na-a-upgrade simula nang mag-operate ang MRT 3 noong 1999,” San Jose said.

There is a plan to renovate the station facilities, including the installation of more toilet bowls, sinks and water motors as well as hiring more maintenance staff,  but the management is still gathering more funds, San Jose noted. (MNS)