Passenger waits for over an hour for MRT ride, is forced to pay overtime charge

A commuter who had to wait an hour and a half to ride the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) was made to pay the overtime charge of P28.

The commuter, who has asked not be identified, said that it was particularly crowded at the MRT on a Wednesday morning. The ordeal began upon arrival at 7:15 a.m. and ended at 9:15 a.m.r

“At exactly 9:15 a.m., I was able to get out of the train, and I thought, ‘the worst is probably over.’ Nope, not today. As I was tapping on my beep card, the screen displayed this message: OVERSTAY. FAILED.”

The guard gave directions to the cashier window, where it was revealed that there would be a P28 charge for staying too long in Cubao, Quezon City, station.

“[It] only happened because the trains that kept on arriving in Cubao were crazy overcrowded that only a person or two could get inside at a time. And I was probably like, fifteenth in line, so imagine how many trains I had to wait [just] to be able to hop on. I couldn’t believe it. I was being charged for something that I did not intentionally do. It wasn’t like I chose to lounge around and waste precious time away,” the passenger’s post read.

It continued, “DOTr MRT-3, please do something about this. I’m expecting that this might happen again in the future, but I don’t plan on paying you guys P28 every single time it does. I don’t plan on compensating you for your incompetenc[e]. 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.”

The note, posted on August 22, has been shared over 13 thousand times as of posting time.

Responding to the commuter’s post, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) immediately released a statement clarifying that passengers are allowed to stay inside the paid area for two hours, not an hour and a half as the commuter claimed. They further questioned details of commuter’s accounts.

The DOTr said that data from the turnstile revealed that the passenger entered the paid area at 7:17 a.m. and stayed until 8:45 a.m. or approximately 1.5 hours. “It is still being investigated why [the passenger] has not boarded a train despite the 10 regular trains and two skipping trains that stopped in Cubao Station during [that time].”

The DOTr noted that the passenger exited the paid area at Buendia Station at 9:28 a.m., 13 minutes after arriving. They are investigating what delayed the exit and why only a single passenger was identified by the  MRT-3’s Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) as having overstayed. “It appears unlikely that [there was only one passenger who] boarded in Cubao Station and alighted in Buendia Station at that time,” the statement read.

Reacting to the DOTr statement, the passenger told GMA News Online: “I just want to say that the guard I talked to told me that I should leave a station within an hour, not two. Also, I had to line up in the cashier window to pay the P28 that’s why it took me a while to finally exit the station. On top of that, when I re-tapped the beep card, it displayed Entry Mismatch so the cashier gave permission to the guard to let me exit through the steel gate.”

DOTr clarified that in the event that a major delay causes passengers to stay in the paid area beyond the maximum prescribed limit, “the Station Supervisor may override a turnstile so that affected passengers may exit without paying the overstay charge.” — AyaTantiangco/RSJ, GMA News