- Manila Metro Rail Transit System
Overview Type Rapid transit Status Operational Termini North Avenue
Stations 13 Services 1 Operation Opened December 15, 1999 Owner Metro Rail Transit Corporation Operator(s) Department of Transportation and Communications
Metro Rail Transit Corporation
Rolling stock ČKD Tatra RT8D5 Technical Line length 16.95 km Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Standard gauge Electrification Overhead line Operating speed 60 km/h Route map Blue Line North Avenue Quezon Avenue Kamuning Araneta Center-Cubao Santolan Ortigas Shaw Boulevard Boni Guadalupe Buendia Ayala Magallanes Taft Avenue
The Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) is Metro Manila's third rapid transit line. It forms part of the Strong Republic Transit System, which includes the Manila Light Rail Transit System. The line operates under the name Metrostar Express and is colored blue on rail maps.
The line is located along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), one of Metro Manila's main thoroughfares. It has thirteen stations along its 16.95km track which passes through the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Quezon City, and San Juan. 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.
The MRT-3 network
The single line serves 13 stations on 16.95 kilometres (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 (Taft on the map), serving the cities that EDSA passes through: Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay.
North Avenue, Taft Avenue and Araneta Center-Cubao are interchanges with the LRT network, with MRT North Avenue station connected to North Avenue station and Taft Avenue station connected to EDSA station on the Yellow Line and Araneta Center-Cubao connected to its namesake station on the Purple Line. The line's termini have 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 10:30 p.m. Last June 1, 2009, the MRT-3 experimented with a 24-hour operation. The extended hours were primarily aimed at serving call center agents and other workers in the Business Process Outsourcing sector. However, the 24/7 operations were called off after two days, citing low ridership and financial losses. The MRT management opted to extend their operations instead from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the next day. However on the summer of April 2010 (just after the Holy Week), operations have returned to its former schedule starting from 5:30am to 10:30 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 on EDSA. Normal operation resumes after Black Saturday or Easter Sunday.
A metro line on EDSA was envisioned in the plan of Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zürich during the construction of the LRT. The plan consisted of a 150 kilometre network of rapid transit lines spanning all major corridors within 20 years, including a line on EDSA.
In the 1990s, the MRTC was 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 September 16, 1997 after the MRTC signed an amended turnkey agreement 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.
Ridership was initially far below expectations, since passengers had to climb long flights of stairs to enter a station, and fares were higher than on the LRT. Some stations have been retrofitted with escalators and elevators for easier access, and ridership has increased. By 2004 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.
MRT-3 operates from 5:30 AM until 10:00 PM all days a week. It is closed for annual maintenance every Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday. At the discretion of its operators, it is also closed during All Saints Day (November 1).
First / Last Train Service
Station First Train Last Train North Avenue Station 5:30 AM 10:00 PM Shaw Southbound 5:45 AM 10:30 PM Shaw Northbound 5:45 AM 10:45 PM Taft Avenue Station 5:30 AM 10:30 PM
December 24 and 31
Station First Train Last Train North Avenue Station 5:30 AM 8:00 PM Shaw Southbound 5:45 AM 8:30 PM Shaw Northbound 5:45 AM 8:45 PM Taft Avenue Station 5:30 AM 8:30 PM
December 25 and January 1
Station First Train Last Train North Avenue Station 7:00 AM 10:00 PM Shaw Southbound 7:15 AM 10:30 PM Shaw Northbound 7:15 AM 10:45 PM Taft Avenue Station 7:00 AM 10:30 PM
Weekday Revenue Service
Period Time Headway No. of Trains Morning 5:30 AM - 7:30 AM 5 Minutes 12 Trains AM Peak/ Rush 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM 3 Minutes 20 Trains Regular Hours 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 4 Minutes 15 Trains PM Peak/ Rush 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM 3 Minutes 20 Trains Night 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM 5 Minutes 12 Trains
Weekend Revenue Service
Period Time Headway No. of Trains Saturday 5:30 AM - 11:00 PM 5 Minutes 12 Trains Sunday 5:30 AM - 11:00 PM 6 Minutes 11 Trains
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 MRT-3 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:
Date Station Event 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.
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 onboard the MRT-3. The Philippine National Police has a special MRT police force, 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 only uses one fare structure for both single-journey and stored-value ticket holders. Commuters who ride the MRT-3 are charged 10 pesos for the first three stations, 11 pesos for 4–5 stations, 12 pesos for 6–8 stations, 14 pesos for 9–11 stations and 15 pesos 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 purchase when unused and for one month from date it was first used.
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.
G-Pass and Smart Contactless Card
In July 2006, Globe Telecom introduced the G-Pass as an alternative to entering the MRT-3. The G-Pass uses a stored-value RFID chip that is tapped on a sensor on top of the fare gates upon entry and exit from the MRT-3, instead of a ticket which is inserted through the gate's ticket slot. The chip can be reloaded with MRT-3 fare credits using G-Cash or through a G-Pass reloading booth usually located near a station's ticket counters. The product is not exclusive to Globe subscribers; however, being a Globe subscriber avoids the queues when reloading a G-Pass because you can have balance inquiry of your G-Pass by using your Globe-subscribed cellphone through sending an SMS balance inquiry to Globe (although these days, this is temporarily suspended) and also, since Globe subscribers can reload using G-Cash. A G-Pass costs 100 pesos, with 50 pesos worth of free credits upon initial purchase.
G-Passes can be purchased at all MRT-3 stations, RFID sensors for these passes have been installed at all MRT-3 stations from North Avenue to Taft Station. There are also balance inquiry machine in each of G-Pass reloading booths of every stations which are free to use. To use a G-Pass, at least 16 pesos worth of credits must remain in the chip, corresponding to the maximum MRT-3 fare of the same amount because the system deducts credits after exiting the station of your destination. The expiration of a G-Pass is 3 years compared to a stored-value ticket which is only 1 month after use. A maximum of 2000 pesos can be loaded on a G-Pass. No plans have been made whether the G-Pass will be instituted on LRT-1 and MRT-2.
Smart Money Pay Pass
In March 2007, Globe Telecom's main competitor, Smart Communications, forged a partnership with MetroPass Systems to allow MRT-3 passengers to use the upcoming Smart Money PayPass card to pay for their ride. The system has not been installed yet on any MRT-3 station and no formal date has been set as to when this method of payment will be rolled-out.
Globe G-Pass and Smart Money Pay Pass was phased out last January 1, 2009.
The MRT-3 runs 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 957 passengers, which is less than the normal capacity of LRT-1 first generation rolling stock. Unlike original Yellow Line stock at the time, MRT-3 trains came with air conditioning.
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.
As of 2006, the Department of Transportation and Communications has sealed a deal with the city government of Vienna to obtain 48 second-hand Vienna U-Bahn trains as part of the MRT-3's expansion program, designed to expand the MRT's current capacity of 23,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) to 48,000 pphpd. The trains are a donation from the Vienna city government. It is unclear, however, when the trains will arrive and enter service.
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.
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 Ave), eventually connecting to the Yellow Line at Monumento in Caloocan City. The expansion has been shelved in favor of the Yellow Line'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.
Another proposal, which is under study, by MRT-3 is to acquire 73 additional light rail vehicles to accommodate the 520,000 passenger a day requirement.
A study by the DOTC mulls at the possibility of uniting the operations of MRT-3 and LRT-1, to save in maintenance costs and to offer a complete transportation line along EDSA.
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 Php 35 Million only, Line 2 is Php 25 Million only, while Line 3 has a staggering Php 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. 
As of 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. 
- Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)
- List of rapid transit systems
- List of Strong Republic Transit System stations
- Manila Light Rail Transit System (Yellow and Purple Lines)
- Manila LRT Purple Line (Purple Line)
- Manila LRT Yellow Line (Yellow Line)
- Metro Rail Transit Corporation
- Strong Republic Transit System (SRTS)
- Transportation in the Philippines
- ^ GMA Launches transit system, Philippine Star, July 15, 2003
- ^ NUMBER OF MOTOR VEHICLES REGISTERED: Comparative, JAN.- DEC. 2003, 2004, 2005, Land Transportation Office, January 23, 2006
- ^ Route Map, Metro Rail Transit Corporation Passenger Information, retrieved July 7, 2006 Archived June 26, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Operating Hours and Train Schedule, Metro Rail Transit Corporation Passenger Information, retrieved July 7, 2006 Archived June 21, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ 
- ^ MRT-3 rides to go 24 hours starting June 1, Philippine Daily Inquirer
- ^ Background, Metro Rail Transit Corporation History, retrieved July 7, 2006 Archived June 26, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ a b Construction, Metro Rail Transit Corporation History, retrieved July 7, 2006 Archived June 26, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ a b Manila Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), UrbanRail.Net. Retrieved July 7, 2006.
- ^ Short circuit stops MRT-3, causes panic, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 28, 2004
- ^ Cut cable stalls MRT-3 train again, Manila Times, August 13, 2004
- ^ Bloody Valentine: 11 killed in 3 separate bombings, Abu Sayyaf claims responsibility, AFP on nationwide red alert, Manila Times, February 15, 2005
- ^ Death for 3 Valentine bombers, Manila Times, October 29, 2005
- ^ Thousands of MRT-3 commuters stranded, Manila Times, September 23, 2005
- ^ Fallen billboard causes heavy traffic on EDSA, Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 21, 2006
- ^ Man run over by MRT-3 train, Philippine Star, October 22, 2006
- ^ Man jumped on the MRT-3 railway, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 5, 2011
- ^ MRT-3 escalator malfunctions, injures 16 people, ABS-CBN News, January 18, 2011
- ^ MRT-3 passengers panic as a coach stalls and emits bad smoke, ABS-CBN News, January 20, 2011
- ^ Five dead, several injured on Buendia Bus Bombing, ABS-CBN News, January 25, 2011
- ^ MRT-3 coach disconnects from a train, ABS-CBN News, March 21, 2011
- ^ MRT-3 issues directive imposing ban on tin cans, Manila Times, August 10, 2005
- ^ New task force formed to keep LRT, MRT safe, The Daily Tribune, November 13, 2004
- ^ DOTC: MRT-3 fare could increase by P10 in 2006, Philippine Star, October 21, 2005
- ^ MRTC borrows value tickets from LRTA, Manila Times, November 12, 2003
- ^ MRT-3 woes, Manila Times, November 16, 2005
- ^ MRTC incurs losses with pull out of 'Erap tickets', Manila Times, July 19, 2005
- ^ Lakaki, gustong mauna sa loob ng MRT-3. Nag-Globe G-PASS, Inquirer Libre. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
- ^ Smart, MetroPass team up for electronic pay system in MRT-3 stations, Smart Communications, March 2007.
- ^ MRT-3 stress and Camp John Hay turmoil, Manila Times, June 21, 2005
- ^ DOTC eyes E-payment for commuter trains, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 19, 2006
- ^ LRT1-MRT3 link is nat'l priority - NEDA, Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 21, 2004
- ^ After gov't takeover of NAIA Terminal 3, former PGMA orders immediate completion of EDSA MRT-3 extension, Department of Transportation and Communications Press Release, January 4, 2005
- ^ Govt creates team for MRT 3 due dilligence, sets June takeover, The Manila Times, December 28, 2010
- ^ LRTA chief takes over MRT-3, BusinessWorld, January 13, 2011
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