Recently, we’ve seen celebrities riding our railways, such as Anne Curtis, Kris Aquino and Manny Pacquiao, as they try to escape the horrible EDSA traffic. Heard they had a nice time with nice commuters. They might want to make it a daily thing especially during rush hour so they’ll have a better sample size and observation data of what it’s really like.Anyway. Now we can add to this list the Ayala brothers, Jaime and Fernando.
In last week’s Biz Buzz article from Inquirer, it was reported (belatedly) that the Ayala brothers, Jaime and Fernando, together with other Ayala group management, rode the LRT-1 (Baclaran to Monumento) to experience, observe and understand the train system. This was supposed to be part of their preparation for the extension project bidding (extension from Baclaran to Cavite). So they basically dressed down in jeans, trooped to Baclaran station early in the morning (5:30am), lined up and rubbed elbows and bodies with the common Juan (“mixed with the masses” and “mortal commuting population” as Biz Buzz puts it).
Were they pushed? Did they wait too long and had a hard time getting inside? Did they smell funky and “unique body odors este colognes?” We won’t know. Maybe not because it’s still too early in the morning. But I salute them for their display of leadership and commitment to their businesses, waking up very early and exerting effort to get first hand experience. To understand the system, before they make any planned improvements if ever. No fuss, no bodyguards, no problem.
My Claim to Fame
Quite amusing but not surprising, even from someone who’s family name is a major artery of Makati CBD. I previously had an upclose encounter with one of them, not sure who it was because they look alike. But I’m sure it was one of them, saw him walking alone in Global City, in slacks and long sleeves, as if he just came from the parking lot and walking to a business dinner, carrying what seemed like a leather-bound organizer. No bodyguards, no arte. Just like anyone of us. I wish we had more business leaders and political leaders like that.
Unfortunately, the Ayala group did not push through with their LRT-1 bid, due to financial aspects they say, and not due to their “interesting” riding experience. Nonetheless, it shows how serious they are in understanding the prospective venture and their options, before making huge investments. So should we, we who have limited funds. Borrowing Michael Angelo’s words, “investigate before you invest.”
Day in and out, more than a million ride our 3 major rail systems (LRT-1, LRT-2 and MRT) to commute their way through the Metro. The experience is really far from easy and comfortable. As some irate citizens voiced out, policymakers (such as Legislators, DOTC and MMDA) should try commuting during rush hours. So they would know how it feels, how hard it is, and how worse and difficult it sometimes gets whenever there are changes implemented (or the lack of it) by these government functions.
It really helps to know what’s going on down there, micro-level and not just approaching policy-making on a macro-perspective. Boys, take your cue from the Ayalas.
Image from Wikipedia Commons.