MANILA - Starting May 7, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) will begin a two-week experimental run of its ''Express Trains'' that will bring commuters faster to their destinations by skipping certain stations.
The MRT-3 management came up with three types of express trains for northbound and southbound trips. Under the scheme, express trains will skip certain stations during peak hours.
Each train will only make five stops from the time they leave the MRT-3's two end stations: North Avenue Station for southbound and Taft Avenue Station for northbound.
SOUTHBOUND EXPRESS TRAINS
All southbound express trains will begin at North Avenue. The stops are:
- Code 1S (Quezon Ave Pick-Up) - North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Buendia, Ayala, Magallanes, and Taft Avenue
- Code 2S (Kamuning Pick-Up) - North Avenue, GMA-Kamuning, Buendia, Ayala, Magallanes, and Taft Avenue
- Code 3S (Cubao Pick-Up) - North Avenue, Cubao, Buendia, Ayala, Magallanes, and Taft Avenue
The morning experimental run of southbound express trains will begin from May 7 to 20, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. only.
''Based on historical passenger volume data, most peak-hour weekday morning riders begin their trips at the North Avenue station. A substantial number also start from the Quezon Avenue, GMA-Kamuning, and Cubao stations. Most of these passengers alight at the Buendia, Ayala, Magallanes, and Taft Avenue stations,'' the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.
NORTHBOUND EXPRESS TRAINS
Meanwhile, all northbound express trains will begin at Taft Avenue Station. The stops are:
- Code 1N (Magallanes Pick-Up) - Taft Avenue, Magallanes, Cubao, GMA-Kamuning, Quezon Avenue, and North Avenue
- Code 2N (Ayala Pick-Up) - Taft Avenue, Ayala, Cubao, GMA-Kamuning, Quezon Avenue, and North Avenue
- Code 3N (Buendia Pick-Up) - Taft Avenue, Buendia, Cubao, GMA-Kamuning, Quezon Avenue, and North Avenue
The implementation of northbound express trains will begin from May 13 to 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. only.
''[Most] peak-hour weekday afternoon riders start their trips from the Taft Avenue station, with a large number also boarding from the Magallanes, Ayala, and Buendia stations. Most of these passengers then alight at the Cubao, GMA-Kamuning, Quezon Avenue, and North Avenue stations,'' DOTC said.
Passengers should take note that under the scheme, all the six types of express trains will not stop at Guadalupe, Boni, Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas, and Santolan-Annapolis stations.
Passengers who wish to be dropped off at these stations will have to take the regular trains. The DOTC said the express trains and regular trains will be deployed alternately.
The DOTC said the Express Train scheme was formulated based on a study of the riding habits of MRT-3 passengers.
The study looked into the historical passenger volume data of the transit system.
To avoid confusion among passengers, the DOTC said it has tasked the MRT-3 management to install sufficient signage at all stations and ensure that riders are informed about the type of train – whether regular or express - approaching at each station.
After the two-week trial run, the MRT-3 management will evaluate the results and make its recommendation to the DOTC on whether the Express Train service should be made permanent.
The MRT management has been looking for ways to solve the congestion problem in its stations and trains while waiting for the arrival of 48 new coaches starting next year and the automation of its ticketing system.
The mass transit system is now serving close to 600,000 passengers per day or almost double the original designed capacity of 350,000.
Currently, the MRT has 73 coaches. Each train passing by a station is composed of three coaches arriving every 3 minutes during peak hours.
The MRT expansion project would allow the MRT to deploy four coaches for each train, arriving every 2.5 minutes during peak hours.
“We hope that this trial run will yield positive results for passengers. Ideally, it will increase mobility – meaning it will get commuters from their origins to their destinations more quickly – as well as lessen waiting time at our most congested stations during peak hours,” said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya.