Manila Metro Rail Transit System
North Avenue Station platform area
|Owner||Metro Rail Transit Corporation|
|Transit type||Rapid transit/Light metro|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||13|
|Daily ridership||350,000 (original capacity)
650,000 (2012-2013 record)
|Began operation||December 15, 1999|
|Operator(s)||Department of Transportation and Communications
Metro Rail Transit Corporation
|Number of vehicles||73 ČKD Tatra RT8D5|
|Train length||3 cars|
|System length||16.9 km (10.5 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Top speed||60–65 km/h (37–40 mph)|
The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3) is Metro Manila's third rapid transit line. It forms part of the region's rail transport infrastructure, which includes the Manila Light Rail Transit System composed two lines which are the LRT-1 and MRT-2, and the Metro Commuter Line of the Philippine National Railways. It is colored blue (old) and yellow (new) on rail maps.
The line is located along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), one of Metro Manila's main thoroughfares. It has thirteen stations along its 16.9-kilometer (10.5 mi) track which passes through the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City. While originally intended to decongest EDSA, the MRT-3 has been only partially successful in decongesting EDSA, and congestion is further aggravated by the rising number of motor vehicles. The expansion of the system to cover the entire stretch of EDSA is expected to contribute to current attempts to decongest the thoroughfare and to cut travel times.
Opened in 1999, the MRT-3 is operated by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private company operating in partnership with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement. Although it has characteristics of light rail, such as the type of rolling stock used, it is more akin to a rapid transit system qualifying at least as a light metro.
- 1 The MRT-3 network
- 2 History
- 3 Station facilities, amenities, and services
- 4 Safety
- 5 Fares and ticketing
- 6 Rolling stock
- 7 Plans
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The MRT-3 network
The line serves 13 stations on 16.9 kilometers (10.5 mi) of line. It is mostly elevated, with some sections at grade or underground. The line commences at North Avenue and ends at Taft Avenue, serving the cities that EDSA passes through: Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay.
Three stations currently serves as interchanges between lines operated by the PNR, LRTA, and MRTC. Magallanes is nearby to EDSA on the PNR, Araneta Center-Cubao is connected to its namesake station as an interchange with the MRT-2, and Taft Avenue is connected to EDSA on the LRT-1. These interchanges have also been designated as transport hubs, where commuters can change to and from take other forms of public transport.
The MRT-3 is open from 5:30 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 11:00 p.m. Special schedules are announced via the PA system in every station and also in newspapers and other mass media. It is open every day of the year except when announced, and during Holy Week, when it is closed for annual maintenance, owing to fewer commuters and lower levels of traffic congestion around the metro. Normal operation resumes after Black Saturday or Easter Sunday.
The MRT-3 has experimented with extended opening hours in the last few years. It experimented with 24-hour operations beginning on June 1, 2009, primarily aimed at serving call center agents and other workers in the business process outsourcing sector. Citing low ridership figures and financial losses, this was suspended after two days, and operations were instead extended from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. MRT-3 operations subsequently returned to the former schedule by April 2010, but services were again extended starting March 10, 2014, with trains running on a trial basis from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm in anticipation of major traffic buildup in light of several major road projects beginning in 2014.
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 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the region's busiest road corridor.
The MRT-3 (originally LRT-3) project officially began in 1989, five years after the opening of the LRT Line 1, with the Hong Kong-based EDSA LRT Corporation winning the public bidding for the line's construction. However, construction never commenced, with the project stalled as the Philippine government conducted several investigations into alleged irregularities with the project's contract. A consortium of local real estate companies, led by Fil-Estate Management, later formed the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) in June 1995 and took over the EDSA LRT Corporation.
The MRTC was subsequently awarded a Build-Operate-Transfer contract by the DOTC. The DOTC would have ownership of the system and assume all administrative functions, such as the regulation of fares and operations. The MRTC would have responsibility over construction and maintenance of the system and the procurement of spare parts for trains. In exchange, the DOTC would pay the MRTC monthly fees for a certain number of years to reimburse any incurred costs.
Construction started on October 15, 1996, with a BOT agreement signed between the Philippine government and the MRTC. An amended turnkey agreement was later signed on September 16, 1997 with a consortium of companies, which included Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Corporation, and a local company, EEI Corporation, which was subcontracted for civil works. A separate agreement was signed with ČKD on rolling stock. MRTC also retained the services of ICF Kaiser Engineers and Constructors to provide program management and technical oversight of the services for the design, construction management and commissioning.
During construction, the MRTC oversaw the design, construction, equipping, testing, and commissioning, while the DOTC oversaw technical supervision of the project activities covered by the BOT contract between the DOTC and MRTC. The DOTC also sought the services of Systra, a French consultant firm, with regards to the technical competence, experience and track record in the construction and operations.
On December 15, 1999, the initial section from North Avenue to Buendia was inaugurated by President Joseph Estrada, with all remaining stations opening on July 20, 2000. However, ridership was initially far below expectations, with passengers complaining of the stations' steep stairs and the general lack of connectivity with other modes of public transportation. Passengers also complained of high ticket prices, with the maximum fare of ₱34 at the time being significantly higher than a comparable journey on those lines operated by the LRTA and PNR. Although the MRTC projected 300,000-400,000 passengers riding the system daily, in the first month of operation the system saw a ridership of only 40,000 passengers daily. The system was even criticized as a white elephant alongside the Manila Light Rail Transit System and the Metro Manila Skyway.
To alleviate passenger complaints, the MRTC later retrofitted stations with escalators and elevators for easier access, as well as reducing passenger fares. By 2004, the MRT-3 had the highest ridership of the three lines, with 400,000 passengers daily.
Station facilities, amenities, and services
Station layout and accessibility
Stations have a standard layout, with a concourse level and a platform level. The concourse is usually above the platform, 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 Taft Avenue and Shaw Boulevard, or side platforms, such as Ortigas and North Avenue. Part of the platform at the front of the train is cordoned off for the use of women, children, elderly and disabled passengers. At side-platform stations passengers may need to enter the concourse area to enter the other platform or go through bridges atop some stations, while passengers can easily switch sides at stations with island platforms. Stations have toilets at the concourse level.
Shops and services
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 Ayala and Shaw Boulevard.
Stations such as Taft Avenue and North Avenue 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-3 stations.
The MRT-3 has always presented itself as a safe system to travel in. So far, this has been affirmed by the MRTC, the contractors who built the MRT-3 and even the government, and the MRT-3 has since been able to live up to that reputation. Safety notices in both English and Tagalog are also a common sight at MRT-3 stations and inside the trains.
Incidents and accidents
Incidents and accidents are rare aboard the MRT-3, but there have been notable events throughout the MRT-3's history:
|June 28, 2004||Guadalupe and Boni||A catenary wire broke between Guadalupe and Boni stations, causing an MRT-3 train to stop between the two stations. Passengers panicked inside the train and a minor stampede was reported, although no one was hurt. The wire was believed to have broken due to a fluctuation in the MRT-3's power supply. Because of the incident, all MRT-3 services from Taft Avenue to Shaw Boulevard were temporarily suspended.|
|August 12, 2004||GMA-Kamuning||Another catenary wire broke near Kamuning station, where a southbound train headed from Quezon Avenue station was stranded, forcing the passengers inside the train to walk to Kamuning station. Service was suspended from Shaw Boulevard to North Avenue, with commuters also asking whether the incident was purely mechanical or incidental, as some claim that the malfunctions were used to justify the MRTC's call for higher fares.|
|February 14, 2005||Ayala||A bomb exploded in an apparent terrorist attack on Valentine's Day at the bus stop just below Ayala station, with an unknown death toll. The Abu Sayyaf took responsibility for the bombings, which included attacks in Davao City and General Santos City that occurred at the same time as the bombing below the MRT-3. It is unknown whether any MRT-3 passengers were hurt or killed in the bombing. The Abu Sayyaf claims that the bombing is their "Valentine's gift" to the President. Three suspects, one an Indonesian, were sentenced to death on October 28, 2005 for their actions.|
|September 22, 2005||Araneta Center-Cubao||Strong winds caused a portion of an advertisement billboard's tarpaulin to fall onto the MRT-3's overhead wires. Because of the incident, thousands of commuters were forced to take alternate forms of transportation, causing massive traffic jams on EDSA. All MRT-3 services from Shaw Boulevard to North Avenue were also temporarily suspended.|
|August 21, 2006||Boni||Strong winds caused the collapse of an advertising billboard onto Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, with part of the billboard landing on the roof of Boni station at around 3:30 a.m. PST. Three lanes of EDSA were closed due to the incident, which caused massive traffic jams, while power had to be cut for a few hours after the incident, since portions of the billboard were entangled in the power wires. MRT-3 services were not interrupted.|
|October 22, 2006||Ortigas||An unidentified man was run over by an MRT-3 train near Ortigas station around 9:00 p.m. PST after he was believed to have jumped off a nearby flyover. The man, according to witnesses, was a "rugby boy", or one high on "rugby" (rubber cement), and was believed to be intoxicated at the time of the jump. MRT-3 operations were suspended for about ten minutes due to the incident.|
|January 5, 2011||Ortigas||A 43-year-old man jumped into the railway in Ortigas station Wednesday around 12:40 p.m. PST but survived.|
|January 18, 2011||Ayala||The escalator in the Ayala station malfunctioned leaving 16 people injured.|
|January 20, 2011||Santolan||A south-bound train stopped at around 9:52 a.m. PST near the Santolan station after a break pad got stuck. Passengers panicked due to the foul odor the brakes produced resulting to some minor injuries.|
|January 25, 2011||Buendia||A bomb exploded on a Newman Goldliner bus bound for Fairview near the Buendia station as it was on the northbound loading bay in EDSA-Buendia in an apparent terrorist attack by an unknown group leaving 5 dead and several injured. As of today, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility over the incident.|
|March 21, 2011||Kamuning||The third coach of one MRT-3 train set bound for Taft Avenue Station got detached while it was plying the mentioned route between Quezon Avenue and Kamuning Stations. The detached coach stopped near the Kamuning Station and no one was hurt in the said incident.|
|March 21, 2012||North||The switch track near North Avenue Station broke between 7 and 8am, and was fixed by 9:10am.|
|May 8, 2013||Guadalupe||An unidentified man jumped onto the tracks as the train was approaching. The man reportedly held onto the tracks until he was struck and killed.|
Passengers at MRT-3 stations are advised to not stay too close to the edge of the platforms to avoid falling onto the tracks. Passengers are prohibited from eating, drinking or smoking and taking pictures inside the platform area of all MRT-3 stations and inside the trains. Bags are also inspected for prohibited goods, such as chemicals and knives. Passengers are also inspected by guards using a handheld metal detector.
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-3. Passengers are also prohibited from entering the MRT-3 if bringing products in tin cans, citing the possibility of home-made bombs being concealed inside the cans.
In response to the Rizal Day bombings and the September 11th attacks, security has been stepped up on board the MRT-3. The Philippine National Police has a special police force on the MRT-3, and security police provided by private companies can be found in all MRT-3 stations. All MRT -3 stations have a head guard. Some stations may also have a deployed K9 bomb-sniffing dog.
The MRT-3 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-3 trains. Wanted posters are posted at all MRT-3 stations to help commuters identify known thieves.
Fares and ticketing
The MRT-3, like the LRT-1 and MRT-2, uses a distance-based fare structure, with fares ranging from ten to fifteen pesos (23 to 35 U.S. cents), depending on the destination. Commuters who ride the MRT-3 are charged ₱10 for the first three stations, ₱11 for 4–5 stations, ₱12 for 6–8 stations, ₱14 for 9–11 stations and ₱15 for 12 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-3.
Types of tickets
Two types of MRT-3 tickets exist: a single-journey (one-way) ticket whose cost is dependent on the destination, and a stored-value (multiple-use) ticket for 100 pesos. The 200-peso & 500-peso stored-value tickets was issued in the past, but has since been phased out. The single-journey ticket is valid only on the date of purchase. Meanwhile, the stored-value ticket is valid for three months from date of first use.
MRT-3 tickets come in three incarnations: one bearing the portrait of Joseph Estrada, which have since been phased out, although some tickets have been recycled due to ticket shortages, one bearing the portrait of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and one bearing the logos of the DOTC and the MRTC. In the past, the MRTC was also forced, other than recycling the old "Erap tickets", to borrow stored-value tickets from the LRTA, due to the same ticket shortages.
Because of the ticket shortages, it is now common practice for regular MRT-3 passengers to purchase several stored-value tickets at a time, since passengers would not know when or what station the tickets would be available at. Although new stored-value tickets have arrived, passengers still complain of a lack of tickets at stations. Passengers also complain of a shortage of single-journey tickets, with long lines at MRT-3 ticket booths already common and with the MRTC having to alleviate the ticket shortages through alternate means.
Adjusting passenger fares has been employed by the MRTC as a means to boost flagging ridership figures, and the issue of MRT-3 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-3 fare levels were set in July 2000 under the orders of President Estrada, meant to become competitive against other modes of transport. While originally set to last six months, the new fare structure persisted due to strong public opposition against increasing fares, especially as MRT-3 ridership increased significantly 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, and which for both the MRTC and the LRTA reached ₱75 billion between 2004 and 2014. Without subsidies, the cost of a single MRT-3 trip is estimated at around ₱60.
The MRT-3 owns 73 light rail vehicles made in the Czech Republic by ČKD (now part of Siemens AG) in a three-car configuration. The trains are a gift from the Czech government. Trains have a capacity of 1,182 passengers, which is smaller than the normal capacity of LRT Line 1 first generation rolling stock, although MRT-3 trains came with air conditioning. Despite this, the MRT-3 is designed to carry in excess of 23,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD), and is expandable to accommodate 48,000 passengers per hour per direction – however, with the line's current 4–6 minute headways, the system's passenger volume is presently closer to 14,000–18,000 passengers per hour per direction.
MRT-3 trains are particularly known for their use of wrap advertising. A wide variety of advertisements can be seen on MRT-3 trains, of which some include Samsung Electronics, Panasonic and Epson products. Trains bearing wrap advertising are now very common aboard the MRT-3, although trains that use MRT-3's house colors are also in service in the network. The revenues generated from the advertising on MRT-3 trains are used to pay off debts incurred by the MRTC during the system's construction.
The MRT-3 maintains an underground depot in Quezon City, near North Avenue station. On top of the depot is TriNoma, a shopping mall owned by the Ayala Corporation. It occupies 84,444 square meters (908,948 sq ft) of space and serves as the headquarters for light and heavy maintenance of the MRT-3, as well as the operations of the system in general. It is connected to the main MRT-3 network by a spur line.
The depot is capable of storing 81 light rail vehicles, with the option to expand to include 40 more vehicles as demand arises. They are parked on nine sets of tracks, which converge onto the spur route and later on to the main network.
Capacity Expansion Project
Due to the high ridership of the line a proposal which is under study by the DOTC and NEDA proposes to double the current capacity by acquiring additional light rail vehicles to accommodate the 520,000 passenger a day requirement.
Automatic Fare Collection System
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. The group comprises 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. It posted a negative bid of ₱1,088,103,900.00, which edged out the SM Group’s bid of ₱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 ₱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.
Although much of the MRT-3 has already been built, the route envisioned by the DOTC and the government in general was for the MRT-3 to traverse the entire length of EDSA (from Monumento to Taft Avenue), eventually connecting to Line 1 at Monumento in Caloocan. The expansion has been shelved in favor of the LRT-1's extension from Monumento to a new common station that it will share with the MRT-3 at North Avenue, thus closing the loop. It is also planned that the southern terminus of the proposed MRT-7, which will link Quezon City, Caloocan (north), and San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan will be sharing the same station.
The National Economic and Development Authority and even President-then Arroyo herself have said that the MRT3-LRT1 link at North Avenue is a national priority, since it would not only provide seamless service between the LRT-1 and the MRT-3, but would also help decongest Metro Manila. It is estimated that by 2010, when the extension is completed, some 684,000 commuters would use the MRT-3 everyday from the present 400,000, and traffic congestion on EDSA would be cut by as much as fifty percent.
On November 21, 2013, the NEDA board, chaired by President Benigno Aquino III approved the construction of a common station within North Avenue between SM North EDSA and TriNoma Mall. It is estimated to cost 1.4 billion pesos. It will feature head-to-head platforms for LRT-1 and MRT-3 trains with a 147.4-meter elevated walkalator to MRT-7. SM Investments Corpration posted 200 million pesos for the naming rights of the common station.
Transfer of operations from MRTC to LRTA
Recently a new study for the Metro Manila Rail Network has been unveiled by the DOTC undersecretary for Public Information Dante Velasco that LRT 1, MRT 2, and MRT 3 will be under one management, The Light Rail Transit Authority. This is due to maintenance cost issues for Line 1's maintenance cost is approximately ₱35 Million only, Line 2 is ₱25 Million only, while Line 3 has a staggering ₱100 Million maintenance cost. Another reason for this study is for the unification of the LRT 1 and the MRT 3 lines. According to DOTC Undersecretary For Rails Glicerio Sicat, the transfer is set by the government in June 2011.
On January 13, 2011, Light Rail Transit Authority Chief Rafael S. Rodriguez took over as officer-in-charge of MRT-3 in preparation for the integration of operations of Yellow, Purple, and Blue Lines. But with the entry of a new leadership into the MRTC that year and in 2012, the transfer is not likely to happen, however on April 2012 a LRT-1 trainset made the first trial journey to the MRT-3 depot.
MRT-3 is reverted back as independent unit under DOTC.
On May 26, 2014, Vitangcol was sacked by Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, replaced by LRTA Administrator Honorito Chaneco as officer-in-charge. The move came after Vitangcol was accused by the ambassador of the Czech Republic of extortion and for awarding an anomalous deal to an uncle-in-law.
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