(Metro News) PGMA to inspect LRT 1 Extension; will ride MRT 3 train to Magallanes

June 11, 2009 11:54 am 

MANILA, June 11 — President Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo will inspect on-site late Friday afternoon, the ongoing construction of the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT 1) Extension (from Monumento in Caloocan City to North Avenue in Quezon City) and take a regular MRT train ride from North EDSA to Magallanes in Pasay City for her next appointment.

The President will be briefed on-site at the Munoz Market side of the LRT 1 Extension by Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza and by LRT Administrator Melquiades Robles.

She will be joined in her inspection and briefing by Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte and some congressmen from Quezon City.

Many of her expected MRT co-passengers to Makati and Magallanes were call center workers, hospital staff and private security guards of different establishments. Late May, she had breakfast with call center agents in Makati, who appealed to her to have MRT operate 24 hours daily.

The President said earlier she wanted the LRT 1 Extension (called "Closing the Loop" of MRT 3-LRT1) completed by December 2009.

Due to new requirements, however, including the needed common terminal for MRT-LRT1 and soon-to-be-built MRT 6 (from Bulacan to North EDSA crossing through Commonwealth Avenue, the timetable does not seem feasible, explained MRT 3 general manager Ronilo Hermes A. Bacolod.

The MRT 6 project is still under review by the National Economic and Development Authority. Once approved, it will be bidded out to local and foreign contractors, a process takes about four months.

The President is expected to take the train like a regular commuter in one coach where she will chat with her seatmates for the duration of her trip (around 27 to 30 minutes) to the Magallanes. Her expected fellow-commuters are “graveyard shift” workers (or those working from 9 p.m. to the next morning).

She is expected to inquire from them how the lengthened operating hours of MRT (until 1 a.m.) has benefited them.

MRT experimented last June 1-2 by operating until 4 a.m. but the passenger load declined from 5,346 on June 1-2 to 3,986 on June 2-3, 2009.

Since then, the MRT management under retired Police Gen. Reynaldo Berroya modified its operating hours up to 1:00 a.m. only to minimize losses.

The MRT line runs the length of EDSA and has 13 stations along the stretch from North EDSA to Taft Avenue. Its 20 trains (of 3 coaches) are used during weekdays but only 12 trains are used on Saturdays and 10 trains on Sundays..

Since its opening in December 1999 and full operation on July 2000, MRT’s average ridership increased from 124,174 to 474,442 per weekday. It caters to the transport needs of seven cities (Pasig, Caloocan, Quezon, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati and Pasay). In 2008, the system served 142,926,598 passengers.

MRT operates 7 days a week providing 268 trips per day on weekdays, 170 trips on Saturdays and 150 trips on Sundays. At full load, each train can carry 1,182 passengers at any given time.

During peak hours (5 a.m.- 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m.) a total of `20 trips is fielded in one direction resulting in a load capacity of 26,300 passengers, or already beyond its design capacity load of 23,600.

The MRT has submitted to DOTC Secretary Mendoza its proposal to add 10 units (of four-car trains) to accommodate more passengers. (PNA)

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