A Commuter’s Nightmare…

I have seen a lot of posts in my FB newsfeeds about different modus operandi happening in public transportations within the big metro. I have seen and heard news about pickpockets and groups of the them even holding up passengers in the cramped up MRT. A few years ago, a former colleague of mine was a victim of this. His newly bought iPhone then was stolen from him.

There was also a modus in the provincial buses, which I became a victim of. A couple of thieves will buy a ticket, rides the bus then observes passengers to identify those who are travelling alone. Then once they do, they will see who will leave their bags on the seat at the stopover.Β They will no longer get back in the bus if they were able to steal it.

At the same time, I’ve read another blog post about the “dura” gang who targets passengers within the city buses. From what I heard, what this group does is that one will sit beside you, another behind you and another one across. Someone will pour something icky on your back or shoulder. Then someone will tell you about it and will offer to help you clean it up.Β The one sitting beside you will then pick your bag or your pocket while you are distracted with cleaning up the mess.

A few weeks ago, I’ve read several posts about commuters being held up in cabs. It was said that the cab driver picks up a solo passenger. Then he will pick up his colleagues along the way. One will sit in front and one at the back. One will point a weapon at the passenger while the other will check the bags and get all valuables. They will ask for the victim’s ATM card and will withdraw whatever they can. Then they will drop the passenger off elsewhere. But before they do, they will advise passengers not to look back, not to make any scene, scream or run. Else, they will shoot.

Unfortunately, a work colleague of mine fell victim to this modus last night. And to think that she went home an hour earlier than I did. From what I heard, they took her phones, jewelries and cash. It was a good thing that she had the presence of mind not to try to fight them off. The cab had child lock on the passenger doors and one of the guys pointed a gun at her forehead.

I have been taking the cab going to and from work for several years now. With all the modus going on in almost all of the public transportations in the big metro, my paranoia level has been skyrocketing to high levels. I never really minded these kinds of incidents when it was just me. But when I had little Z, my outlook became different. The the-devil-may-care attitude that I used to have had to be somewhat curbed. I have to be more cautious and can’t be the impulsive person that I have been.

I learned how to fear for my safety, too. The cab modus is the reason why I have been texting my colleague the plate number of the cab I ride on going home. I have been doing this exercise for several weeks now. The thing is, it still does not guarantee safety when you really think about it. Even if the commute from my office to my apartment is only about 10 minutes, a lot of things can still happen. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me nervous.

So with all of these crimes happening, it really makes me think how I will travel to wherever I am going since nothing seems safe anymore. Guess I really have to think about saving up for my own car again. Just to take out part of the paranoia that I feel everytime I think about how cruel and frightening our world has become.

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  1. I’m terrified of taking public transportation! Not only because of the holdups but also news of fatal accidents caused by the recklessness (sleepiness) of the drivers! I’m so afraid to take the cab on my own, I really pay extra for Grab Taxi even if the cab drivers now only answer to extra tips over the Php 70 going rate.

    1. I already experienced cab drivers falling asleep while driving. Buti nalang there was no traffic during those times kasi madaling araw. but i agree, it is starting to scare me to commute… πŸ™

  2. Naku, yngat lagi mommy.. Kaya ako di ako nag tataxi mag isa. NEVER! My husband recently discover yung UBER kahit expensive sya alam kong safe kami. Try mo mag UBER or yun nga Grab a Taxi para mas comfortable ka.

    1. pag nasa office ako, i usually get assistance from our guards to get a cab for me when i leave work. they get all the details din kasi, even the driver’s name and license number. then i text a colleague and a friend the details din and update them kung nasan nako and when i reach home. i am planning to use GrabTaxi for the times naman na wala ako sa office and need to get a cab to get somewhere. πŸ™‚

  3. Riding in PUJ is probably lesser evil than riding Taxis. In cases of hold-ups, you have other commuters with you to share the experience or to help when in PUJ while in taxis you are so alone which is more threatening. But like you’ve said, parang wala na ngang mode of transpo na safe. Ingat po.

    1. the problem is i get off work very late. on the average, the earliest I leave the office is 10pm and it can go until about 2am. So PUJs are no longer an option for me. πŸ™ well, that and the fact that i don’t know which jeepney to ride on going home πŸ˜›

  4. I’ve been more cautious too when taking public transpo once I became a mom. Thankfully I have not experienced any bad incidents. I used to take cabs every night at midnight when I was still working. Whenever I take a cab, I make sure that I always text to my husband the cab name and plate number. I make sure that the driver KNOWS that I am texting the cab’s deets. I also make sure that I give the driver directions (which roads to take) so that he’ll know that if he makes a different route, I’ll know.

    1. Kat, the same thing was done by my colleague that’s why the first thing they took from her were her phones πŸ™ i do the same too. i make sure that someone knows the cab details and where i am am headed. these things really do make you a lot more paranoid once you have kids, don’t they? haaaays

  5. Commuting is really risky, I can commute alone riding in a PUJ but not in a taxi cab, I’m so afraid to be alone in a closed door vehicle. With all those modus operandis that’s been spreading in TV news, I really don’t have the courage to take the risk. But we can be cautious to minimize the risk like avoid wearing jewelries in public places or we can keep our eyes around rather than focusing on our mobile phones, simple but very helpful πŸ™‚

    1. so true. i am usually focused on my phone when taking cabs and now i have to secure them for the duration of the ride before whipping it out again.

  6. I also use the GrabTaxi app when I have to ride one. Maybe they are being tracked by their companies or something, I am not sure. But at least there’s info about the driver, one can share the journey through social media or email to your loved ones, plus they will know if you have reached your destination when you click the I have arrived button.

    1. i have already installed the app in my phone too but i rarely use it because of the additional fare cost. it is about the average fare i spend going home from work. but for my safety, i guess spending a little more will make the difference. i need to lessen my coffee budget from now on. πŸ™‚

  7. The world is a crazy place that’s why we should always pray for our safety, as well as our love ones. It also helps to be vigilant because bad people often target those who appear to be mindless about their surroundings.

  8. Oh no! What has everything come down to? I’m really blessed to live in a relatively peaceful city – Davao – and seldom lang talaga mga ganyan dito. Usually nahuhuli agad. And most csb drivers are honest and trustworthy.

    1. Dati ganun din cab drivers when I was still in Baguio. Madami pa din naman mga mababait dun especially yung mga beteranong drivers pero according to my sister, madami na din daw loko loko dun lalo na kasi dumami na din nde taga-doon.. Scary na talaga panahon ngayon

  9. I was a victim of ketchup gang in makati. Similar to the dura gang. Pero nothing was taken from me, thank God! Kaya nga i blogged about ny experience in the hopes that others would remember pag andun na sila sa situation na yun. And i have been texting my mum cab plate #s since forever kasi worrier talaga yun. Pero an hs classmate of mine experienced the same thing, hinoldap sa loob taxi. Pinagpaikot ikot sa buong manila for 4hrs ata kasi nilimas ang atm nya. Worst, she’s pregnant. Grabe lang. Kaya simula nun takot na talaga ko mag cab. Thank God for Uber! Have you heard about it? Its the best thing ever. You can use my promo code 2234j for php 300 voucher. Medyo mas pricey lang than regular cabs pero atleast you have peace of mind.

    1. Scary naman. I hope nothing happened to your friend and her baby after the incident. What I do now when I go home late at night is ask assistance from our guards at work to get a cab. What they do is they get the cab details and even ask for the driver’s license so they can copy the name. Then I text a friend the details of the cab and will usually give updates until I reach home. I have heard of Uber but not really checked the details yet. Will look into this as another option. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  10. Just reading about all the horror stories circulating online makes me so scared of commuting already. It’s a good thing that there are now safe services like grabTaxi and uber though I have yet to try them.

    I remember back in the day when I still rode a jeepney to work, may bag was slashed. I didn’t know about it till I got to the office. Good thing nothing was taken and that the knife wasn’t pointed on me.

    1. Good to know that nothing was taken and nothing untoward happened. But even then, I guess the trauma will never be forgotten πŸ™

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