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Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3

The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 also known as the MRT Line 3, MRT-3 or Metrostar Express is a rapid transit system of Metro Manila, Philippines. The line runs in an orbital north to south route following the alignment of the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). Although it has the characteristics of light rail, such as with the type of rolling stock used, it is more akin to a rapid transit system owing to its total grade separation and high passenger throughput.

MRT-3 Manila Yellow Logo Line 3.svg
Line 3 Train.jpg
Taft Avenue station platform area
TypeRapid transit / Light metro
SystemManila Metro Rail Transit System
LocaleManila, Philippines
TerminiNorth Avenue
Taft Avenue
Daily ridership350,000 (original capacity, current minimum capacity)
650,000 (2012-2013 record)
500,000 (Peak Daily capacity)
WebsiteMRTC, DOTr-MRT3
OpenedDecember 15, 1999
OwnerMetro Rail Transit Corporation
Department of Transportation
Operator(s)Department of Transportation
Rolling stockČKD Tatra RT8D5 1st Generation LRV[3]
CNR Dalian 8MLB 2nd Generation LRV
Track length16.9 km (10.5 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Minimum radius370 metres (400 yd) Mainline /
25 metres (82 ft) Depot
Electrification750 V DC Overhead lines
Operating speed30–60 km/h (19–37 mph)
Route map

Up arrow Quirino Highway
Left arrow Baclaran
North Avenue
 1  7  9 
  San Jose Del Monte Right arrow
North Avenue Depot
Quezon Avenue
 8  9 
Left arrow Lerma - University Avenue Right arrow
  FTI Right arrow
  NAIA Terminal 3 Right arrow
Left arrow Recto - Santolan - Masinag Right arrow
Araneta Center–Cubao
Shaw Boulevard
Left arrow EDSA - Sampaguita Right arrow
Left arrow Gov. Pascual-Valenzuela / Tutuban
  FTI / Alabang / Calamba Right arrow
Taft Avenue
Left arrow Roosevelt - Baclaran - Niog Right arrow

Envisioned in the 1970s as part of the Metropolitan Manila Strategic Mass Rail Transit Development Plan, the thirteen-station, 16.9-kilometer (10.5 mi) line was the second rapid transit line to be built in Metro Manila when it started full operations in 2000 under a 25-year concession agreement between its private owners and the Philippine government's Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The line is owned by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private company operating in partnership with the DOTr under a Build-Lease-Transfer agreement. Serving close to 550,000 passengers on a daily basis when MRTC's maintenance provider, Sumitomo Corp. of Japan, was handling the maintenance of the system, the line is the busiest among Metro Manila's three rapid transit lines, built with essential standards such as barrier-free access and the use of contact-less card tickets to better facilitate passenger access. Total ridership significantly exceeds its built maximum capacity of 350,000 passengers a day, with various solutions being proposed or implemented to alleviate chronic congestion in addition to the procurement of new rolling stock.

Since 2006, the system's private owners had been offering various capacity expansion proposals to the DOTC. In 2014, after the DOTC's handling of the line's maintenance for two years amid questions about the line's structural integrity owing to the poor maintenance and the pronouncements that the system, in general, was safe, experts from MTR HK were commissioned to review the system. MTR HK made the opinion that the rail system was compromised due to the DOTC's poor maintenance.[4][5][6]

It is integrated with the public transit system in Metro Manila, and passengers also take various forms of road-based public transport, such as buses, to and from a station to reach their intended destination. Although the line is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and travel time along EDSA, the transportation system has only been partially successful due to the DOTC's inaction on the private sector's proposals to expand the capacity of the system to take up to 1.1 million passengers a day. Expanding the network's capacity to accommodate the rising number of passengers is currently set on tackling this problem.



A Class 3000 train approaching Ayala station.

The line serves 13 stations on 16.9 kilometers (10.5 mi) of line,[2][1] spaced on average around 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) apart.[7] The rails are mostly elevated and erected either over or along the roads covered, with sections below ground before and after Buendia and Ayala stations, the only underground stations on the line. The southern terminus of the line is the Taft Avenue station at the intersection between Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and Taft Avenue, while the northern terminus is the North Avenue station along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City. The rail line serves the cities that Circumferential Road 4 (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) passes through: Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan and Quezon City.

Three stations currently serve as interchanges between the lines operated by the MRTC, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), and Philippine National Railways (PNR). Magallanes station is near the PNR's EDSA station, while Araneta Center-Cubao Station is connected by a covered walkway to its namesake station of the Line 2, and Taft Avenue station is connected via a covered walkway to the EDSA station of the Line 1.

Early on during the construction of the line, a plan was drafted for a spur line towards the Makati Central Business District, built between Ayala and Buendia stations. This was subsequently abandoned and rail tracks never laid down. The remaining evidence of this abandoned plan is an underground viaduct between Buendia and Ayala station turning right.

Name Distance (km) Transfers Location
Between stations From North Avenue
North Avenue
Common Station
Line 1
Line 7
Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway)
Quezon City
North Avenue —0.000 none
Quezon Avenue —1.200 —1.200
Kamuning —1.000 —2.200
Araneta Center–Cubao —1.900 —4.100 Line 2
Santolan —1.500 —5.600 none
Ortigas —2.300 —7.900 Mandaluyong City
Shaw Boulevard —0.800 —8.700
Boni —1.000 —9.700
Guadalupe —0.800 —10.500 Makati City
Buendia —2.000 —12.500
Ayala —0.950 —13.450
Magallanes —1.200 —14.650 PNR Metro Commuter Line
Taft Avenue —2.050 —16.700 Line 1 Pasay City
Stations or Train Systems in italics are under construction.

The line is open from 5:30 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 5:30 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 10:00 pm during weekends and holidays. It operates almost every day of the year unless otherwise announced. Special schedules are announced via the PA system in 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 after Easter Sunday.[8]

It has experimented with extended opening hours, the first of which included 24-hour operations beginning on June 1, 2009 (primarily aimed at serving call center agents and other workers in the business process outsourcing sector).[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]


A northbound train leaving Shaw Boulevard station
Taft Avenue 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,[12] including a line on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the region's busiest road corridor.

The project (originally known as the LRT-3 project) officially began in 1989, five years after the opening of the Line 1, with the Hong Kong-based EDSA LRT Corporation winning the public bidding for the line's construction during the term of President Corazon Aquino.[7] However, construction could not commence, with the project stalled as the Philippine government conducted several investigations into alleged irregularities with the project's contract.[13] In 1995, the Supreme Court upheld the regularity of the project (G.R. No. 114222, April 6, 1995) which paved the way for construction to finally begin during the term of President Fidel V. Ramos. A consortium of local companies, led by Fil-Estate Management, Ayala Land, and 5 others, later formed the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) in June 1995 and took over the EDSA LRT Corporation.[7]

The MRTC was subsequently awarded a Build-Lease-Transfer contract by the DOTC, which meant that the latter would possess ownership of the system after the 25-year concession period. Meanwhile, the DOTC would assume all administrative functions, such as the regulation of fares and operations, leaving the MRTC responsibility over construction and maintenance of the system as well as 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.[14]

Construction began on October 15, 1996, with a BLT agreement signed between the Philippine government and the MRTC.[7] An amended turnkey agreement was later signed on September 16, 1997 with a consortium of companies (including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Corporation. A separate agreement was signed with CKD Dopravny Systemy (ČKD Tatra, now part of Siemens AG), the leading builder of trams and light rail vehicles for the Eastern Bloc, 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.[15]

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 BLT 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.[15]

On December 15, 1999, the initial section from North Avenue to Buendia was inaugurated by President Joseph Estrada,[16] with all remaining stations opening on July 20, 2000, a little over a month past the original deadline.[17] However, ridership was initially far below expectations when the line was still partially open, with passengers complaining of the tickets' steep price and the general lack of connectivity of the stations with other modes of public transportation.[18] Passengers' complaint of high ticket prices pointed to the maximum fare of ₱34, which at the time was significantly higher than a comparable journey on those lines operated by the LRTA and the PNR or a similar bus ride along EDSA. 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 ridership improved quickly, however, when passengers experienced significantly faster and convenient travel along EDSA, which experience soon spread by word of mouth).[19] The system was also initially criticized as a white elephant, comparing it to the Manila Light Rail Transit System and the Metro Manila Skyway.[20] To alleviate passenger complaints, the MRTC later reduced passenger fares to ₱15, as per the request of then President Joseph Estrada and a subsequent government subsidy.

By 2004, the line had the highest ridership of the three lines, with 400,000 passengers daily. By early 2015, the system was carrying around 550,000 commuters during weekdays and was often badly overcrowded during peak times of access during the day and night.

On August 13, 2014, a train at the Taft Avenue station became derailed and overshot to the streets. First, the train stopped after leaving Magallanes station (the station before the Taft Avenue station) due to a technical problem. Later, the train broke down, so that a following train was used to push the stalled train. During this process, however, the first train was detached from the rails and overshot towards Taft Avenue, breaking the concrete barriers and falling to the street below. At least 38 people were injured.[21] The accident was blamed on poor maintenance provided by the DOTC-appointed provider.

On November 14, 2017, 24-year-old Angeline Fernando, a student from Pasay City lost her right arm in an accident at the Ayala station in Makati City, after she alighted from the train when she felt dizzy and fell on to the station's tracks. Doctors re-attached her arm.[22]

But two weeks later after the said freak accident at Ayala station, on November 16, 2017, at 11:30 AM, at least 140 passengers were evacuated from a "detached train" coach between the railway lines of Buendia and Ayala Avenue Stations.[23]

On October 27, 2018, the Department of Transportation started the gradual deployment of the 2nd generation trains, after various tests and audits.[24]

Station facilities, amenities, and servicesEdit

Buendia station, one of the stations with an island platform.
The entrance to Ayala station as seen from the Ayala Center
Bridge linking the Taft Avenue station to the nearby Line 1 EDSA station

With the exception of Buendia and Ayala stations, and the platform level of Taft Avenue and Boni stations, all stations are situated above ground, taking advantage of EDSA's topology.[25]

Station layout and accessibilityEdit

The 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. Station concourses contain ticket booths, which is separated from the platform level by fare gates.[7] Some stations, such as Araneta Center-Cubao, are connected at concourse level to nearby buildings, such as shopping malls, for easier accessibility. Most stations are also barrier-free inside and outside the station, and trains have spaces for passengers using wheelchairs.[7]

Stations either have island platforms, such as Taft Avenue and Shaw Boulevard, or side platforms, such as Ortigas and North Avenue. Due to the very high patronage of the line, part of the platform corresponding to the front car of the train is cordoned off for the use of women, children, elderly and disabled passengers.

The stations are also designed to occupy the entire span of EDSA, allowing passengers to safely cross between one end of the road and the other.[7]

Shops and servicesEdit

Inside the concourse of all stations are stalls or shops 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.

Since November 19, 2001, in cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, passengers are offered copies of the Inquirer Libre, a free, tabloid-size, Tagalog version of the Inquirer, which is available at all stations.[26] In 2014, Pilipino Mirror also started distributing free tabloid newspapers.

Safety and securityEdit

The line 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".[27] However, in recent years after the DOTr (formerly DOTC) took over maintenance of the train system in 2012, the safety and reliability of the system has been put into question, with experts calling it "an accident waiting to happen", and while several incidents and accidents were reported between 2012 and 2014, that has not deterred commuters from continuing to patronize the system.[28] The Philippine government, meanwhile, continues to assert that the system is safe overall despite those incidents and accidents.[29]

With a current daily ridership of around 560,000 passengers, the line operates significantly above its designed capacity of between 360,000 and 380,000 passengers per day.[30] Operating over capacity since 2004,[6] government officials have admitted that capacity and system upgrades are overdue,[31] although the DOTr (formerly DOTC) never acted on the numerous capacity expansion proposals of the private owners. In the absence of major investment in improving system safety and reliability, DOTr (formerly DOTC) project management office of the line has resorted to experimenting with and/or implementing other solutions to reduce strain on the system, including crowd management on station platforms,[32] the proposed implementation of peak-hour express train service.[33] However, some of these solutions, such as platform crowd management, are unpopular with passengers.[34]

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 meters (5 ft) tall and/or wide, and persons bringing pets and/or other animals are prohibited from entering the line.[35] Products in tin cans are also prohibited on board, citing the possibility of home-made bombs being concealed inside the cans.[36]

In 2000 and 2001, in response to the Rizal Day bombings and the September 11th attacks, security was stepped up on the line. The Philippine National Police has a special police force,[37] and security police provided by private companies can be found in all stations. All stations have a head guard. Some stations may also have a deployed K9 bomb-sniffing dog. It 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 the trains. Wanted posters are posted at all stations to help commuters identify known thieves.


The original designed ridership of the line is 450,000, yet as the years passed, the number doubled to as much as 650,000 in 2012-2013, due to the time consumed when commuting via EDSA, as well as the speed of the trains reaching up to 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph), and connectivity to Metro Manila's major transport hubs and central business districts. The daily ridership can reach as much as 300,000-500,000 passengers, despite poor maintenance and long lines, causing the government to launch bus services, known as MRT Buses, around its stations, to serve as alternatives, Yet, the daily ridership continues to exceed the line's designed capacity. And as it continues its capacity expansion project, it aims to reach a ridership of 800,000 daily passengers as all of the new trains from China will be added to its current fleet.[38]

Fares and ticketingEdit

The design of the single journey ticket prior to introduction of Beep card in 2015.

The line, like all other lines in Metro Manila, uses a distance-based fare structure, with fares ranging from 13 to 28 pesos (29 to 63 U.S. cents), depending on the destination. Commuters who ride the line are charged ₱13 for the first two stations, ₱16 for 3–4 stations, ₱20 for 5–7 stations, ₱24 for 8–10 stations and ₱28 for 11 stations or the entire line. Children below 1.02 meters (3 ft 4.4 in) (the height of a fare gate) may ride for free.

Types of ticketsEdit

Magnetic tickets (1999–2015)Edit

Two types of 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 were issued in the past, but have 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.[35]

The tickets come in several incarnations: these include tickets bearing the portraits of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,[39] which have since been phased out, and one bearing the logos of the DOTC and the MRTC. Ticket shortages are common: in 2005, the MRTC was forced to recycle tickets bearing Estrada's portrait to address critical ticket shortages, even resorting to borrowing stored-value tickets from the LRTA[40] and even cutting unusable tickets in half for use as manual passes. Shortages were also reported in 2012,[41] and the DOTC was working on procuring additional tickets in 2014.[42] Because of the ticket shortages, it had become common practice for regular passengers to purchase several stored-value tickets at a time, though ticket shortages still persist.[43]

Although it has partnered with private telecommunications companies in experimenting with RFID technology as an alternative ticketing system in the past,[44][45] these were phased out in 2009.[46]

Beep cards (2015–present)Edit

Currently, inter-operable beep cards with similar-to-the-previous single-journey and stored-value ticket types are now issued, along with the deployment of brand-new ticketing machines that replaced the barely-used ticketing machines that has been in place since the line's inauguration. The beep, tap-and-go tickets, loadable up to ₱10,000 can be used in all three rail lines since December 2015.

Fare adjustmentEdit

Adjusting passenger fares was ordered by President Joseph Estrada as a means to boost flagging ridership figures,[47] and the issue of 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 fare levels were set on January 4, 2015 as a consequence of DOTr (formerly DOTC) having to increase fares for Line 1 as per their concession agreement with MPIC-Ayala, with fare hikes delayed for several years despite inflation and rising operating costs.[48] Prior to the current fares levels, fares were set on July 15, 2000 under the orders of then President Estrada; this was intended to have the line become competitive against other modes of transport,[49] but had the effect of causing revenue shortfalls which the government shouldered. While originally set to last only until January 2001,[49] the new fare structure persisted due to strong public opposition against increasing fares,[50] especially as ridership increased significantly after lower fares were implemented.[47] These lower fares—which are only slightly more expensive than jeepney fares—ended up being financed through large government subsidies amounting to around ₱45 per passenger,[50][51] and which for both the MRT and LRT reached ₱75 billion for the 10-year period between 2004 and 2014.[52] Without subsidies, the cost of a single trip is estimated at around ₱60,[51] and a ₱10 increase in fares would yield additional monthly revenues of ₱2-3 billion a month.[53]

Passenger fare subsidies are unpopular outside Metro Manila, with subsidy opponents claiming that their taxes are being used to subsidize Metro Manila commuters without any benefit to the countryside, and that the fare subsidies should be used for infrastructure improvements in the rest of the country.[54] In his 2013 State of the Nation Address, President Benigno Aquino III claimed that it would be unfair for non-Metro Manila residents to use their taxes to subsidize the LRT and MRT.[55] However, supporters of the subsidies claimed that the rest of the country benefits economically from efficient transportation in Metro Manila.[56]

Rolling stockEdit

Currently, two train generations run in the line, the most recent one purchased from CRRC Dalian, under the Aquino administration.

The Dalian train deployment was delayed due to several factors, including line incompatibility and production inconsistencies, which has since been in the process of correction.

The trains currently run at the minimum of 30-40kph due to worn out railtracks, currently scheduled for replacement.

Inside a train in 2006.
2nd Generation trains parked, as viewed from Line 1 terminus.
2nd Generation Trains parked at Line 1 tracks.
Model Class 3000/000 ČKD Tatra RT8D5 (1st Generation)[57] Class 3100 CRRC Dalian 8MLB (2nd Generation)
Number Built 73 (45-51 cars in service, 14-16 trains operational, in 3 Car Trainsets)[58] 48 cars (3 trains with 3 cars each in service and operational by end-2019, 39 undergoing evaluation)[24][59]
Country of Origin and Manufacturer   Czech Republic – ČKD Transportation Systems   ChinaCRRC Dalian
Length per Car 33,000 mm (31,720 mm w/couplers) ~33,000 mm (31,720 mm w/couplers)
Width 2,480 mm ~2500 mm
Height (pantograph lowered) 3550 mm ~3724 mm
Door Height 1900 mm ~1900 mm
Door Width Middle-End 1255 mm-861 mm ~1255 mm-861 mm
Floor Height 925 mm Unknown
Minimum Turning Radius Mainline-Depot 20 m-20 m ~Max. 300 m Mainline – 25 m Depot
Empty Weight 46,800 kg 49,700 kg[58]
Body shell material Low alloy high tensile steel (aluminum for ceiling) Unknown
Electrification 750 V DC Overhead Line 750 V DC Overhead Line
Transmission Right-angle Cardan drive Quill drive
Traction Controller IGBT Chopper (ČKD) IGBT-VVVF (Voith)
Traction Motor 64.5 kW DC motor (ČKD) 120 kW totally enclosed AC induction motor (Traktionssysteme Austria)
Seating Capacity 74 Unknown
Standing Capacity @ 8 passengers per m^2 320 Unknown
Top Speed 65 kph
Acceleration 1.03 m/s^2 at least 1.03 m/s^2
Deceleration Service Brake-Emergency Braking 1.01 m/s^2-1.58 m/s^2 at least 1.01 m/s^2-1.58 m/s^2
Max Gradient 5% at least 5%
Configuration 3 car, some with 2 car (4 car planned) 3 car / 4 car
Combined Passenger Capacity (3/4 Car) 1182/1576 Passengers 1182[58]/1576 Passengers
Wheelbase 1900 mm ~1900 mm

The system has 73 light rail vehicles (LRV) made in the Czech Republic by ČKD (now part of Siemens AG) in a three-car configuration, a number of which are now damaged due to poor maintenance since 2012 by the previous appointed contractor of DOTC (now DOTr).[3] The LRV's were purchased with export financing from the Czech government.[60] Trains have a capacity of 1,182 passengers,[3] which is smaller than the normal capacity of Line 1 first generation rolling stock, although trains came with air conditioning. Despite this, it 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.[1]

The plans for new rolling stock has been an issue for the MRT during the Aquino Administration, with plans to acquire 52 second-hand LRVs offered from Spain, under the leadership of then DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, with ₱8.43 billion budget, along with Inekon Trams.[61][62] However, due to alleged anomalous contracts and train incompatibility issues regarding the project, the project was downgraded to 48 LRVs, with the contract having CRRC Dalian supply 48 new LRV Coaches.

However, due to poor maintenance by the previous maintenance contractors, the line currently operates with 7-10 minute headways under the DOTr orders,[63] and the system's passenger volume is presently closer to 14,000–18,000 passengers per hour per direction.

Early 2018, lack of spare parts for the trains decreased the number of usable trains to just 3 operational trains running during peak hours,[64] however by April 2018, 14-16 trains are now operational.[65]

On October 27, 2018, DOTr started the gradual deployment of the 2nd generation trains.[24] With 3 Train sets set for full deployment by the end of 2019, as signalling upgrades and safety certificates are being made under the takeover of Sumitomo.

Due to aging air-conditioning units that have been in place since the line's inauguration and complaints of uncomfortable train temperatures from riders, replacement air-conditioning units in all Tatra RT8D5 Train Sets were ordered and installed.

The Passenger Assist Railway Display System, a passenger information system powered by LCD screens installed near the ceiling of the train that shows news, advertisements, current train location, arrivals and station layouts, are already installed in the Trains, along with the Line 2 and the Line 1


The line 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. The depot occupies 84,444 square meters (908,948 sq ft) of space and serves as the headquarters for light and heavy maintenance, as well as the operations of the system in general. It is connected to the mainline 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. However, a lot of rail tracks for storage inside the depot were taken by DOTr to repair broken rails, as DOTr's appointed maintenance provider did not purchase spare rails.


List of Maintenance Providers[66]
Firm From Until
  Sumitomo Group January 1, 2001 October 18, 2012
  PH Trams CB & T October 19, 2012 September 3, 2013
  Global APT September 4, 2013 July 4, 2015
SBI CB & T July 5, 2015 January 8, 2016
Busan Universal Rail, Inc. January 9, 2016 November 5, 2017
  Department of Transportation[67] November 6, 2017 November 7, 2018
  Sumitomo Group[68] November 8, 2018 present

Under DOTC Secretary AbayaEdit

By 2014, the line was seen to have significantly deteriorated due to the removal of tested maintenance provider Sumitomo Corp. in 2012 by the then Department of Transportation and Communications (Predecessor of DOTr) and its persistence in using unqualified maintenance providers. The government of Benigno Aquino III had been planning to buy the line from the MRT Corporation (MRTC), the private concessionaire that built the line, and then bid it out to private bidders. The Aquino government accused the MRTC of neglecting and not improving the services of the line under its watch.[69]

In February 2016, the Philippine Senate released a report stating that DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya and other DOTC officials "may have violated" the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in relation to questionable contracts with the subsequent maintenance providers.[70] In a Senate report where the line's condition was found to be in "poor maintenance" as per studies made by MTR HK,[71] DOTC officials were reported to be involved in graft in relation to questionable contracts, especially those for the maintenance of the line.[72]

Under Busan Universal Rail Inc. (2016-2017)Edit

A Korean-Filipino consortium, Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI), became the maintenance provider of the line on January 2016. In 2017, DOTC's succeeding agency, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) attributed the operation's disruptions of the rail system to BURI with Transport Undersecretary noting 98 service interruptions and 833 passenger unloadings (or average of twice daily) as well as train derailments in April–June 2017.[66]

BURI insisted that the disruptions the railway line was experiencing is due to "inherent design and quality concerns" and not to poor maintenance or normal tear or wear. It said that the trains had "excessive lateral movement", the train-protection equipment has a "short delay time", the trains' air conditioning system were "underrated", and other equipments and features such as bogie frames, couplers, line contractors, and tracks are of "poor quality".[73]

The maintenance provider also said that the design flaws in the railway line has been causing disruptions since the first year of operation in the year 2000. According to data cited by BURI 1,492 glitches were recorded in 2000, 1,927 glitches in 2008 and the figure rose to 2,199 in 2009. MRT Corp. the owner of the line dismissed BURI's claim on the train's lateral movement and said that the issues raised by the firm were absent when the line was maintained by Sumitomo.[73]

The DOTr announced its intentions on August 24, 2017 to terminate its contract with BURI.[74] By October 2017, the government agency issued its termination notice and took over maintenance by November 2017.[67]

The Return of SumitomoEdit

The government plans to replace BURI with the maintenance provider of Singapore's MRT, France's RATP, or Sumitomo back as the maintenance provider.[67] In late-November it was reported that Sumitomo will return as the maintenance provider for the line with an agreement to formalize the beginning of talks to facilitate the return of the firm within the later-half of December 2017. The DOTr projects that Sumitomo could work with the line again by around October-December 2018.[75]

The comeback of Sumitomo commenced with an Exchange of Notes signed on November 7, followed by the loan agreement the next day.[76] On December 27, 2018, Sumitomo and DOTr signed the contract for the rehabilitation of the line.[77] The rehabilitation started in February 2019 and is expected to last for 43 months.[78][79]

Plans and ProposalsEdit

Capacity Expansion ProjectEdit

Due to the high ridership of the line, a proposal under study by the DOTC and NEDA proposed to double the current capacity by acquiring additional light rail vehicles to accommodate the 520,000 passenger a day requirement.[80]

In line with this need, the DOTC secured the procurement of a total of 48 LRVs (Light Rail Vehicles) or 16 trains from Chinese firm CRRC Dalian. Delivery had already commenced last January 2016 and will continue until January of the following year. The introduction of the new LRVs will allow the line to now handle over 800,000 passengers.[81]

The first train was scheduled to be in revenue service before April 2016[82][83] but delays in its 5,000 km run test had delayed its deployment for Revenue service.[84][85] Moreover, further tests and analysis of the new trains revealed several incompatibilities that made it unable to run along the lines safely, which was a subject of audit from TuV Rheinland, hired by the DOTr to determine the true usability of the trains.

Later, it was revealed that several adjustments to the Dalian trains are required prior to revenue run deployment.[86] The train manufacturer CRRC Dalian has agreed to amend the train specifications to match the contract terms at no cost, and will do so in the soonest possible time.[87] Due to the Dalian trains undergoing said adjustments, they are now slowly being introduced into revenue runs.

Line merge with Line 1Edit

Although Phase 1 of the line (Taft Ave. to North Ave.) has already been built, the route envisioned by the DOTC and the government, in general, was for it to traverse the entire length of EDSA (from Monumento to Taft Avenue), eventually meeting with the Line 1 at Monumento in Caloocan (Phase 2) to create a seamless rail loop around Metro Manila. The expansion has been shelved by then President Gloria Arroyo in favor of the Line 1's extension from Monumento to a new common station that it will share with at North Avenue, thus closing the loop. However, this move of President Arroyo to take away Phase 2 had proven to be ill-advised as the ridership is very low at only about 30,000 passengers a day. The southern terminus of the Line 7 (originally Line 4 along Quezon Avenue., but had since changed route several times), 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 as well as then President Arroyo herself have said that the link at North Avenue is a national priority, since it would not only provide seamless service between the Lines 1 and 3, but would also help decongest Metro Manila.[88] It is estimated that by 2010, when the extension is completed, some 684,000 commuters would use the line every day from the present 400,000, and traffic congestion on EDSA would be cut by as much as 50%.[89]

Proposals to fully unite Lines 1 and 3 operations, trains and systems have been pitched but has not been pursued so far. Feasibility tests for this proposition included Line 1 trains visiting Line 3 depot facilities and running them on the entire line. It has since been shelved for undisclosed reasons, but may be a possibility should Manny Pangilinan's Metro Pacific attempts to purchase the entire system succeed. If and when this happens, the system may be theoretically controlled or connected to Line 1's current operating concessionaire, LRMC (Light Rail Manila Consortium), of whom Pangilinan has a controlling stake, paving the way to a possible line merger.

Transfer of operations from MRTC to LRTAEdit

Recently, a new study for the Metro Manila Rail Network has been unveiled by DOTC Undersecretary for Public Information Dante Velasco that Lines 1, 2, and 3 will be under one management, the Light Rail Transit Authority. This is due to maintenance cost issues for Line 1's maintenance cost, which is approximately ₱35 million, along with Line 2's ₱25 million and Line 3's ₱54 million maintenance costs. Another reason for this study is for the unification of the lines. According to DOTC Undersecretary for Rails Glicerio Sicat, the transfer was set by the government in June 2011.[90] However, it is unlikely that the private owners, MRTC, will approve this plan.

On January 13, 2011, Light Rail Transit Authority Chief Rafael S. Rodriguez took over as officer-in-charge of the line in preparation for the integration of operations of the Yellow, Purple, and Blue Lines.[91] But with the entry of a new leadership into the MRTC that year and in 2012, the transfer was deemed not likely to happen; however, in April 2012, a Line 1 trainset made the first trial journey to the Line 3 depot.

On May 26, 2014, the line's general manager Al Vitangcol was sacked by Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, and was 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, the maintenance contract, to an uncle-in-law.[92]

Common station with Line 1, Line 7, and the approved Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway)Edit

On November 21, 2013, the NEDA board, chaired by then Former President Benigno Aquino III, approved the construction of a common station within North Avenue between SM City North EDSA and TriNoma Mall. It is estimated to cost 1.4 billion pesos. It will feature head-to-head platforms for Line 1 and 3 trains with a 147.4-meter elevated walkalator to Line 7.[93] SM Investments Corporation posted 200 million pesos for the naming rights of the common station.[94] This is inconsistent with the original plan of having seamless connectivity to Monumento and is also an unusual arrangement of having two train stations beside each other. However, the project was shelved indefinitely due to disputes over cost, engineering issues and naming rights.[95] Even if the physical infrastructure connecting the two rail systems are in place and successfully tested, commuters have to go down at the Roosevelt station of Line 1 and walk over or take a tricycle or jeepney for the one kilometer distance to the Trinoma terminal of Line 3.[96] The Supreme Court halted the construction of the project in August 2014 after SM Prime Holdings contested the new location near Trinoma.[97][98] An agreement was later reached under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, and the common station is now under construction.[99]

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit