Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 2

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     Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 2
MRT Line 2
MRT-2 Train Santolan 1.jpg
Santolan Station platform area
Overview
Type Rapid transit / Heavy rail
System Manila Light Rail Transit System
Locale Manila, Philippines
Stations 11[1]
Services 1[1]
Daily ridership 195,700 (2013 average)
269,271 (2012 record)[2]
Website MRT-2
Operation
Opening April 5, 2003[1]
Owner Light Rail Transit Authority
Operator(s) Light Rail Transit Authority
Rolling stock 72 Hyundai Rotem EMUs
Technical
Track length 13.8 km (8.6 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification Overhead line
Operating speed 60–80 km/h (37–50 mph)
Route map
Masinag
approved
extension
Emerald
Santolan
Depot
Marikina River
Katipunan
Anonas
Araneta Center–Cubao  MRT-3 
Betty Go-Belmonte
Gilmore
J. Ruiz
V. Mapa
Pureza  PNR 
Legarda
Recto  LRT-1 
Divisoria
Pier 4
planned
extension
North Port

The Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 2, also known as MRT Line 2, MRT-2, or Megatren, is a rapid transit line in Metro Manila in the Philippines, generally running in a east-west direction along the Radial Road 6 and a portion of the Circumferential Road 1. Although operated by the Light Rail Transit Authority, resulting to it being informally called as "LRT-2", it is actually a heavy rail, rapid transit system owing to its use of Electric multiple units instead of light rail vehicles used in earlier lines and is currently the only line utilizing such type of system in the country. Envisioned in the 1970s as part of the Metropolitan Manila Strategic Mass Rail Transit Development Plan, the eleven-station, 13.8-kilometer (8.6 mi) line was the third rapid transit line to be built in Metro Manila when it started operations in 2003. It is operated by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) under a Official development assistance scheme.

Serving close to 200,000 passengers daily, MRT-2 is the least busy among Metro Manila's three rapid transit lines, and was built with standards such as barrier-free access and the use of magnetic card tickets to facilitate passenger access in mind. Total ridership however significantly is below the line's built maximum capacity, with various solutions being proposed or implemented to increase ridership in addition to the planned extensions to the line. However, the short-term solution have had a minimal effect on ridership, and experts have insisted that the extensions be built immediately, despite pronouncements that the system is steadily increasing ridership each year.

MRT-2 is integrated with the public transit system in Metro Manila, and passengers also take various forms of road-based public transport, such as buses and jeepneys, to and from a station to reach their intended destination. Although the line aimed to reduce traffic congestion and travel times along R-6 and portions of C-1, the transportation system has only been partially successful due to the rising number of motor vehicles and rapid urbanization. Expanding the network's revenue line to accommodate more passengers is set on tackling this problem.

The MRT-2 network[edit]

MRT-2 Train approaching Katipunan Station.

The line serves 11 stations on 13.8 kilometers (8.6 mi) of line.[1] The rails are mostly elevated and erected either over or along the roads covered, with sections below ground before and after the Katipunan station, the only underground station on the line. The western terminus of the line is the Recto station at the intersection Recto Avenue and Rizal Avenue, while the eastern terminus of the line is the Santolan station along Marcos Highway in Barangay Santolan, Pasig City. The rail line serves the cities that Radial Road 6 (Marcos Highway, Aurora Boulevard, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, Legarda Street and Recto Avenue) passes through: Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, and Marikina City.

Three stations currently serve as interchanges between the lines operated by the LRTA, MRTC, and PNR. Pureza Station is near the Santa Mesa Station of the PNR; Araneta Center-Cubao is connected by a covered walkway to its namesake station of the MRT-3; and Recto Station is connected via covered walkway to the Doroteo Jose Station of the LRT-1.

The MRT-2 runs from 5:00 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 10:00 p.m on weekdays, and 5:00 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 9:30 pm during weekends and holidays. It operates almost every day of the year unless otherwise announced. Special schedules are announced via the PA system at every station and also in newspapers and other mass media. During Holy Week, a public holiday in the Philippines, the rail system is closed for annual maintenance, owing to fewer commuters and traffic around the metro. Normal operation resumes on Easter Sunday.[3]

History[edit]

A westbound MRT-2 train on the viaduct near Marikina River towards Santolan Station
J. Ruiz Station platform area

During the construction of the first line of the Manila Light Rail Transit System in the early 1980s, Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zürich designed a comprehensive plan for metro service in Metro Manila. The plan—still used as the basis for planning new metro lines—consisted of a 150-kilometer (93 mi) network of rapid transit lines spanning all major corridors within 20 years, including a line on the Radial Road 6 alignment, one of the region's busiest road corridor.

The MRT-2 (informally LRT-2) project officially began in 1996, twelve years after the opening of the LRT Line 1, with the granting of the soft loans for the line's construction. However, construction barely commenced, with the project stalled as the Philippine government conducted several investigations into alleged irregularities with the project's contract. The consortium of local and foreign companies, led by Marubeni Corporation, formed the Asia-Europe MRT Consortium (AEMC) which won the contract and restarted the project in 2000 after getting cleared from the allegations.

The AEMC was subsequently given the approval to commence construction by the DOTC and LRTA. The LRTA would have ownership of the system and assume all administrative functions, such as the regulation of fares and operations as well as the responsibility over construction and maintenance of the system and the procurement of spare parts for trains.

Construction started on March 1996 after the LRTA signed the first three packages of the agreement with Sumitomo Corporation delivering Package 1 in which covers the construction of the depot and its facilities, while the Hanjin-Itochu Joint Venture delivered packages 2 and 3 in which covers the substructure and the superstructure plus the stations respectively. The final package which was the package 4 agreement was signed after several delays with Asia-Europe MRT Consortium which was composed of Marubeni Corporation, Balfour Beatty, Toshiba, Daewoo Heavy Industries, and a local company which was D.M. Consuji Incorporated (DMCI) in which includes the communiacations and fares systems, vehicles, and trackworks.

During construction, the LRTA oversaw all the design, construction, equipping, testing, commissioning, and technical supervision of the project activities.

On April 5, 2003, the initial section, from Santolan to Araneta Center-Cubao was inaugurated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, with all remaining stations opening on April 5, 2004 except for Recto which opened on October 29, 2004. However, ridership was initially moderate yet still far below expectations, since the passenger volume in this line is not yet fully achieved.

To address passenger complaints on earlier train lines, the LRTA made sure during the construction phase that the stations are PWD[clarification needed] friendly by putting up escalators and elevators for easier access, as well as making passenger fares at par with the other existing lines.

Station facilities, amenities, and services[edit]

Santolan Station, the only MRT-2 station with an island platform.
The entrance to Santolan station as seen from the Marikina-Infanta Highway
Bridge linking the MRT-2 Recto Station to the nearby LRT-1 Doroteo Jose Station

With the exception of Katipunan station, all stations are above ground.

Station layout and accessibility[edit]

Stations have a standard layout, with a concourse level and a platform level. The concourse is usually below the platform except for the underground station, with stairs, escalators and elevators leading down to the platform level. The levels are separated by fare gates.

The concourse contains ticket booths. Some stations, such as Araneta Center-Cubao, are connected at concourse level to nearby buildings, such as shopping malls, for easier accessibility.

Stations either have island platforms, such as Santolan, or side platforms, such as Gilmore and Recto. Part of the platform at the front of the train is cordoned off for the use of pregnant women, children, elderly and disabled passengers. At side-platform stations passengers need to enter the concourse area to enter the other platforms, while passengers can easily switch sides at stations with island platforms. Stations have toilets at the concourse level.

All stations are barrier-free inside and outside the station, and trains have spaces for passengers using wheelchairs.

Shops and services[edit]

Inside the concourse of all stations is at least one stall or stand where people can buy food or drinks. Stalls vary by station, and some have fast food stalls. The number of stalls also varies by station, and stations tend to have a wide variety, especially in stations such as Recto and V. Mapa.

Stations such as Recto and Santolan are connected to or are near shopping malls and/or other large shopping areas, where commuters are offered more shopping varieties.

In cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, passengers are offered a copy of the Inquirer Libre, a free, tabloid-size, Tagalog version of the Inquirer, which is available from 6 a.m. at all MRT-2 stations.

Safety and security[edit]

The MRT-2 has always presented itself as a safe system to travel in, which was affirmed in a 2004 World Bank paper prepared by Halcrow describing the overall state of metro rail transit operations in Manila as being "good".[4]

With an estimated daily ridership of 200,000 passengers, the MRT-2 operates significantly below its designed capacity of between 570,000 and 580,000 passengers per day. Operating under capacity since 2004, [5] government officials have admitted that system extensions are overdue, although in the absence of major investment in the system's expansion, MRT-2 management has resorted to experimenting with and/or implementing other solutions to maximize the use of the system, including having bus feeder lines.[6]

For safety and security reasons, persons who are visibly intoxicated, insane and/or under the influence of controlled substances, persons carrying flammable materials and/or explosives, persons carrying bulky objects or items over 1.5 metres (5 ft) tall and/or wide, and persons bringing pets and/or other animals are prohibited from entering the MRT-2. Products in tin cans are also prohibited on board the MRT-2, citing the possibility of home-made bombs being concealed inside the cans.[7]

In response to the Rizal Day bombings and the September 11th attacks, security has been stepped up on board the MRT-2. The Philippine National Police has a special police force on the MRT-2,[8] and security police provided by private companies can be found in all MRT-2 stations. All MRT-2 stations have a head guard. Some stations may also have a deployed K9 bomb-sniffing dog. The MRT-2 also employs the use of closed-circuit television inside all stations to monitor suspicious activities and to assure safety and security aboard the line. Passengers are also advised to look out for thieves, who can take advantage of the crowding aboard MRT-2 trains. Wanted posters are posted at all MRT-2 stations to help commuters identify known thieves.

Fares and ticketing[edit]

A sample MRT-2 single journey ticket bearing the face of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo released in 2004.
The design of the front side of the 2014 stored value ticket
The design of the back side of the 2014 stored value ticket

The MRT-2, like the LRT-1 and MRT-3, uses a distance-based fare structure, with fares ranging from twelve to fifteen pesos (28 to 35 U.S. cents), depending on the destination. Commuters who ride the MRT-2 are charged ₱12 for the first three stations, ₱13 for 4–6 stations, ₱14 for 7-9 stations and ₱15 for 10 stations or the entire line. Children below 1.02 metres (3 ft 4.4 in) (the height of a fare gate) may ride for free on the MRT-2

Types of tickets[edit]

Four types of MRT-2 tickets exist: a single-journey (one-way) ticket whose cost is dependent on the destination, a stored-value (multiple-use) ticket for 100 pesos, a discounted stored value ticket (multiple-use) which can only be availed by senior citizens and disabled persons for 96 pesos, and a single journey ticket for employees (one-way) which is exclusive for LRTA employees only. The single-journey ticket and the single journey ticket for employees is valid only on the date of purchase. Meanwhile, the stored-value ticket and the discounted stored-value ticket is valid for six months from date of purchase when unused and for one month from date it was first used.

MRT-2 tickets come in four incarnations: one bearing the portrait of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which have since been phased out, although some tickets have been recycled due to ticket shortages, one with the LRT-1 third generation train inauguration together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one with the LRT-MRT closing the loop project design with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo again in the picture, and one with a picture of the Hyundai Rotem EMUs used in the line which featured different designs for the single journey and stored value tickets with the former having a picture of the train unloading, while the latter is a flipped concept art of the train.

In the past, the MRT-3 borrowed tickets from LRT-1 and MRT-2 rather than recycling the old "Erap tickets", due to the same ticket shortages.[9]

Despite the common practice for regular MRT-2 passengers to purchase several stored-value tickets at a time, the line barely has ticket shortages due to the inter-compatibility of tickets with the LRT-1 and the steady release of new tickets that addresses the problem.

Although the MRT-2 has experimented with the Flash Pass as an alternative ticketing system in the past, this was phased out in 2009.

Fare adjustment[edit]

Adjusting passenger fares has been employed by the LRTA as a means to boost flagging ridership figures, and the issue of MRT-2 fares both historically and in the present day continues to be a contentious political issue involving officials at even the highest levels of government.

Current MRT-2 fare levels were set in April 2004 under the orders of President Arroyo, meant to become competitive against other modes of transport which resulted into a drastic increase in the MRT-2 ridership after lower fares were implemented. These lower fares—which are only slightly more expensive than jeepney fares—are financed through large government subsidies amounting to around ₱45 per passenger,[10] and which for both the MRTC and the LRTA reached ₱75 billion between 2004 and 2014. Without subsidies, the cost of a single MRT-2 trip is estimated at around ₱60.[10]

Rolling stock[edit]

Route Map above the door
Inside an MRT-2 train

The MRT-2 runs heavy rail vehicles made in South Korea by Hyundai Rotem in a four-car configuration. The trains came in together with the fourth package during the system's construction. Trains have a capacity of 1,628 passengers, which is more than the normal capacity of LRT-1 and MRT-3 rolling stocks.

MRT-2 trains are particularly known for their use of wrap advertising. A wide variety of advertisements can be seen on MRT-2 trains, of which some include Samsung Electronics, Nike, and Converse products. Trains bearing wrap advertising are now very common aboard the MRT-2, although trains that use MRT-2's house colors are also in service in the network. The revenues generated from the advertising on MRT-2 trains are used to pay off debts incurred by the LRTA during the system's construction and maintain the rolling stocks and stations of the line.

Depot[edit]

The MRT-2 maintains an at-grade depot in Santolan, Pasig City, near Santolan station. It serves as the headquarters for light and heavy maintenance of the MRT-2, as well as the operations of the system in general which includes the operation of the driverless trains. It is connected to the main MRT-2 network by a spur line.

The depot is capable of storing multiple electric multiple units, with the option to expand to include more vehicles as demand arises. They are parked on several sets of tracks, which converge onto the spur route and later on to the main network.

Plans[edit]

Automatic Fare Collection System[edit]

Automatic Fare Collection System involves the decommissioning of the old-magnetic-based ticketing system and replacing the same with contactless-based smart card technology on LRT Line 1, MRT Line 2 and MRT Line 3, with the introduction of a centralized back office that will perform apportionment of revenues. The private sector will operate and maintain the fare collection system. On January 31, 2014, DOTC awarded the right to build and operate the smart-card system to AF Consortium.[11] The group comprise of Ayala Corporation’s BPI and Globe Telecom, Metro Pacific's Smart Communications and Meralco FinServe, MSI Global, which developed automated fare collection systems’ software in Singapore and Bangkok, and SMRT, which operates Singapore’s mass transit system.[12] It posted a negative bid of PhP 1,088,103,900.00, which edged out the SM Group’s bid of PhP 1,088,000,000.00. Under the terms of the AF Consortium bid, there will be an upfront payment of PhP 279 million and the balance of PhP 800 million will then be paid in transaction fees when ridership volume reaches 750 million transactions per quarter. 72% of the total amount will only be paid to the government in 2024 or 2025, and only if the conditional volume is met.[13]

East Extension[edit]

A 4-kilometer (2.5 mi) east extension of the MRT-2 from Santolan to Antipolo, Rizal, was proposed. The proposal entails the construction of two additional stations, one in Cainta near Emerald Avenue; and another in the Masinag junction of Antipolo. It was approved last September 2012 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).[14]

West Extension[edit]

An 8-kilometer (5.0 mi) west extension of MRT-2 to Tondo, Manila was proposed. It was approved in principle by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), but the actual proposal is pending before the NEDA secretariat. The construction of this said extension will create one station which will serve people in the Tutuban /Divisoria area.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "The MRT Line 2 System". Light Rail Transit Authority. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  2. ^ "Key Performance Indicator - Line 2 - Blue Line". Light Rail Transit Authority. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  3. ^ Ronda, Rainier Allan (March 31, 2010). "LRT, MRT closed for Holy Week". The Philippine Star (PhilStar Daily, Inc.). Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ World Bank (December 2, 2004). A Tale of Three Cities: Urban Rail Concessions in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Manila – Final Report. Author. p. 17.  (Prepared by Halcrow Group Limited).
  5. ^ Climate-Eval (GEF IEO) (August 2009). Republic of the Philippines: Metropolitan Manila Strategic Mass Rail Transit Development-Line 2. Author. Retrieved August 18, 2014.  (Prepared by Sanshu Engineering Consultant)
  6. ^ Light Rail Transit Authority (October 29, 2013). Interim Performance Scorecard for CY 2013. Author. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ MRT-2 issues directive imposing ban on tin cans, Manila Times, August 10, 2005
  8. ^ New task force formed to keep LRT, MRT safe, The Daily Tribune, November 13, 2004
  9. ^ MRTC borrows value tickets from LRTA, Manila Times, November 12, 2003
  10. ^ a b Diokno, Benjamin E. (December 17, 2013). "Folly of government subsidy". BusinessWorld (BusinessWorld Publishing Corporation). Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ http://www.interaksyon.com/business/79837/dotc-awards-lrt-mrt-common-ticket-project-to-ayala-metro-pacific-group
  12. ^ http://business.inquirer.net/162832/railway-smart-card-system-to-go-live-ahead-of-schedule
  13. ^ http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/02/14/sm-appeal-award-lrt-mrt-ticketing-project
  14. ^ http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/top-news/32326-neda-board-oks-9-big-projects Neda Board OKs 9 big projects, Business Mirror, retrieved September 6, 2012

External links[edit]