A hellish Big Apple train ride

By: Alex P. Vidal

“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” – Harriet Tubman

SINCE it has affected so many cities and provinces in the Visayas, particularly in Western Visayas, the dengue outbreak is definitely part of the “state of our nation”.

President Duterte apparently wasn’t properly briefed by his health officials and his advisers on the extent of the damage wrought by the dreaded disease from a mosquito bite to hundreds of children.

Although Health Secretary Franciso Duque III has expressed alarm and has been telling parents and health workers to be “proactive” in their attitude toward the epidemic, his power in as far as helping contain the spread of the disease is only limited.

Since it was Duque himself who admitted that “the worst is yet to come,” the problem now demands an immediate intervention from the highest official of the land.

Dengue is not the only concern of the Department of Health (DoH), although it is the main priority in the list of urgent matters that the department must resolve.

If the President is the one who spearheads the no non-sense campaign against dengue, all the woes, and confusion over the lack of hospital beds and facilities, shortage of medicine and equipment, among other problems will be minimized and addressed properly.

Budget won’t be a problem if the President is “on top of the situation.”




I was one of the hundreds of passengers affected by the breakdowns that caused the recent nights of hellish commute in New York City.

Traveling from Manhattan to Brooklyn July 24 night, the Q train stopped at Manhattan Bridge before 7 o’clock in the evening. After nearly 30 minutes, it resumed running but stopped again in the tunnel near the DeKalb Avenue.

I can bear the train getting stranded in an open area like the spacious Manhattan Bridge, but not in the dark and creepy tunnel. It lasted for 10 horrifying minutes.

From the tunnel of the DeKalb Avenue, the train proceeded to the Atlantic Avenue/Barclay Center station. Some horrified passengers disembarked to transfer to the “faster” B train.

I patiently stayed inside the Q train, which resumed after another delay in the Atlantic Avenue/Barclay Center station. But when it reached the Prospect Avenue station, it halted again.




The delays had scooped off my time travel for more than an hour and I was terribly late for my work, thus I decided to jump out and transferred to the “express” right lane.

When I reached my destination (I had to spend an additional 15 to 20 minutes for a bus ride), I was 15 minutes late. In America, it’s already a hell if you have somebody waiting– an appointment or an employer/client.

Delays and service changes were reported on at least 12 subway lines since Tuesday morning (July 23) as the system was plagued by signal problems, train breakdowns and repairs to track infrastructure, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The main culprit of the transit nightmare that started Monday (July 22), a broken switch at the Franklin Avenue stop in Brooklyn, wasn’t reportedly fully repaired until after 7:30 a.m. After the repairs were done, 2, 3, 4 and 5 train service resumed with delays, but the transit authority was warning passengers to “expect long waits” as trains resume a normal schedule. The switch malfunction at Franklin Avenue was first reported around 1 p.m. Monday.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)