Friday, 26 February 2010

GMA tests LRT-MRT closing loop

LRT 1, MRT 3
25 February 2010

As part of her BEAT THE ODDS goals of decongesting Metro Manila, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo headed the Closing-the-Loop Ride as she roamed the metro using the Metro Rail Transit 1 (MRT1) and Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT1) Extension and the LRT1.

From the flag raising at the People Power Monument in Edsa, President Arroyo went to MRT1 Santolan-Annapolis Station and rode the train going to North Avenue Station. Upon reaching the area, the President went-off the train and showcased the new LRT1 Extension which is the main element in "closing-the-loop" project. She took the inaugural test drive and went off to the Balintawak Station for a briefing about the new universal rail transit ticketing system to be implemented in June of this year. The President then rode the LRT1 going all the way to Pasay and lastly took the MRT3 Taft Avenue Station going back to Santolan-Annapolis Station, the first station where she came from.

President Arroyo did this ride for the purpose of showing to the public that commuting is made faster, easier and cheaper with the interconnection of the rail transits or what she called the "main artery of the metropolis".


Genalyn Kabiling
Manila Bulletin

People could soon travel around Metro Manila riding its two major railway systems by March 15 without worrying of any fare increases in the near future.

As part of her commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution, President Arroyo took an hour-long ride Thursday aboard the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) to highlight the “faster, cheaper, and safer transportation” around the metropolis.

President Arroyo, who also led the dry run of the LRT Line 1 North Extension project, said around 1.2 million passengers are expected to benefit once the two railway systems are interconnected next month.

Included in the presidential train ride was the trial run of the MRT-LRT closing the loop project, which involves a 5.7-kilometer elevated line that links Monumento station of LRT Line 1 and the North Avenue Station of MRT Line 3.

The P7.6-billion project, covering four stations – Balintawak, Roosevelt, Common Station in front of SM Annex North EDSA, and Malvar Station in Caloocan City – will start its commercial operations in the middle of March.

The President appeared in a good mood when she started her joy ride aboard the metro railways shortly after attending the anniversary rites of the first People Power revolution at the People Power Monument in EDSA, Quezon City.

Under heavy security, Arroyo, accompanied by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and several government officials, first walked a hundred meters from the People Power Monument and boarded a bus toward the MRT-Santolan Station along EDSA.

Upon arrival at the Santolan station, President Arroyo was greeted by Vice President Noli de Castro, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, and several transport officials and then rode one of the MRT coaches shortly before 9 a.m. when she began to highlight the government’s inroads in the mass transport system.

President Arroyo, speaking to reporters in the packed coach, said the closing the LRT-MRT loop project would decongest traffic in Metro Manila since commuters have an alternative form of transportation.

Commuters should also not worry of higher fare increases in the MRT and LRT networks since the Arroyo government plans to continue to subsidize the mass transport system. The President said it was impractical to impose fare hikes in MRT and LRT since many people, particularly the masses, are benefiting from the railway networks.

Although she looked forward to the operations of the MRT-LRT loop, the President asked transport officials to fast track plans to issue a single ticket for both major railways.

The President was irritated when she learned the unified ticketing system of the MRT-LRT network is being scheduled in June. She told transport authorities to cut red tape and ensure that people could use a single ticket riding the MRT-LRT link when full operations start next month.

During the train ride, Mrs. Arroyo also recalled she used to ride the metro trains when she joined the annual “Alay Lakad” when she was a senator.

The President and her traveling party made three stopovers during the train ride around Metro Manila. The first stop was at the North Avenue station where she boarded a new train of the LRT 1 North Extension project going to Balintawak station.

The new train, still under manual operation, still had no airconditioners, providing little ventilation for the President and her group. Mrs. Arroyo however ignored the heat and instead marveled at the benefits of the closing the loop project during the 15-minute ride to Balintawak station.

At the Balintawak station, the President disembarked from the train and showcased the “contact-less ticket” system that will be used by the MRT and LRT systems. A few minutes later, she rode another LRT train en route to Pasay-Taft area.

The President and her party then switched trains at the MRT EDSA station for a trip back to Santolan station, where her journey started. The presidential train ride ended at past 10 a.m.

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