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MRT – LRT Loop: What Goes Around, Comes Around

March 14, 2010

by Dyan Garcia, with Ven Dionisio

Imagine walking into your typical train station at around 7:30am on a Monday morning. There’s a line for tickets as long as a mile, and people are milling around door markers on the platform like their lives depended on it. Everyone’s sweaty, everyone’s pissed, and everyone’s in that terrible hurry to get to his or her destination. The train station is like an out-of-the-body experience for your everyday commuter – a place where everything is like fair game, an endless battle for that spot on the cramped cart. It’s a disaster of a routine.

Simply put, one could pretty much say that commuting can be ridiculously difficult especially in the Philippines. A trip that should normally take around 30 minutes can sometimes escalate to an hour because of all the side trips and extra stops. It also sometimes ends up becoming unnecessarily expensive because one person might have to alight from the MRT and switch to the LRT, or vice versa –all this for another taxing day at work or school, and on the way home it’s the same process of cramped spaces and intolerable heat.

You would think that such things as the act of commuting should be made much easier and more comfortable in a bustling city such as Metropolis Manila. And that’s exactly what the government has done with the creation of the new MRT-LRT loop. With this project, the government has revamped the entire commuting train system into one continuous circle, thereby lessening the difficulty of getting from one side of the huge city to another. Two new stations located along the Balintawak Interchange and along the Roosevelt Avenue have also been added in order to reach more areas and to complete the loop system. Most importantly, the new MRT-LRT loop also takes away the extra stress of lining up for tickets, as eventually the management of the new scheme will be providing just one ticket for the LRT and MRT train systems.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has dubbed the MRT-LRT loop project as, “katas ng value-added tax (VAT).” Putting it more nicely, the project is an excellent consequence of taxpayers’ money. She also calls the train system “the fastest, cheapest and safest mode of transportation for the ordinary Filipino.” The loop is 39 kilometers long in its entirety and includes 112 trains with 148 coaches – all of which will definitely contribute greatly to the comfort and satisfaction of the average daily commuters. In more concrete terms, the system is expected to provide a whopping 1.3 million passengers with greater ease and much more relief, since it was initially projected to serve only around 400,000, definitely demonstrating a great improvement.

The MRT-LRT loop project’s consulting company, Metrolink, assures the general public that the new train system will be running both smoothly and efficiently from its inauguration. Test runs have shown that it runs slickly from the MRT station in Monumento to its north station along North Avenue. The runs have also shown that the LRT Line 1 trains are able to connect to the MRT train line’s power supply both for its air conditioning and its acceleration.

These current developments in the transportation sector clearly provide your average daily commuting Filipino with seamless travel and much greater luxury. The MRT-LRT loop project is, indeed, one great way to make use of taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Kudos to the government for another job well done!

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