Metro Manila’s LRT Line 2 stretches from Santolan in Pasig City to Recto in the City of Manila. It is the only suburban railway line serving Metro Manila outside the PNR, and uses trains that have the highest passenger capacities compared to the LRT Line 1 and EDSA MRT (Line 3), which uses cars that can be categorized as light rail vehicles. Line 2 employs vehicles that would elsewhere be used for metros or surface heavy rail transit. I occasionally use Line 2 for commuting between Katipunan and Cubao but I must admit I haven’t used it to commute all the way to Manila. Following are photos I took on one commute between Katipunan and Cubao.
Going underground – descending to the station at Katipunan, there are no escalators so most people have to use the stairs.
Accessibility – there are elevators for the physically-challenged including persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens and pregnant women.
Katipunan Station platform – is underground and gives the feeling of being in a subway. There are directional signs to guide passengers but I think there should be more signs informing people about train arrivals and schedules. Note that most passengers do not form lines and are standing along and near the entire platform edge. This seems to indicate people are either undisciplined or there is little effort to establish order in boarding and alighting procedures.
Passengers waiting along the platform form lines where the trains’ doors are supposed to be positioned once the vehicle is stopped. In other countries there are also signs along the median to guide passengers where to line up along the platform and to give way to people alighting from the trains before boarding the train. Such procedures are important for orderly operations. A train bound for Santolan Sta. is on the other side of the platform.
Passengers boarding the train
Stragglers hurrying to enter the train before the doors closed for departure. Like in other cities, some passengers attempt to board the train at the last second. Such situations can cause injury as people can get caught by the closing doors.
Train leaving the Katipunan Station and bound for Recto in Manila
Warning sign – signs inform passengers of the dangers along the tracks. In this case, the danger is in the form of high voltage wires as the trains are powered by electricity. There is a fine of PhP 50,000 (~USD 1,200) for anyone illegally going down to the tracks.
The yellow line defines the area where passengers should be safely behind and clear of the trains. There are dimples on the line, which are generally for the benefit of blind people using their canes to “feel” such lines for guidance.
Defective – Most ticket machines were out of service. Those that weren’t marked as defective (just a few) had problems accepting coins. This issue regarding ticketing makes it inconvenient for most passengers to use the trains as they end of queuing along one or a few manned booths selling tickets at the stations. One would think that with so many options now available for fare collection (tickets, passes, cards, etc.) and the LRT’s already in operation for so many years that authorities would have already had a more efficient system in place for fare collection.
Turnstiles – there are enough turnstiles at the stations (in this case Cubao) but the queuing problem is not here but at the ticketing stage of the journey. Of course, there are also queues due to the security checks at the station but these are usually quicker compared to the time it takes for people to purchase tickets.
Westbound arrival – a train bound for Recto arrives at the opposite platform at Cubao Station.
Departures – a train bound for Manila leaves Cubao Station while passengers form queues along the platform for trains bound for Pasig.
I tried to get photos of the connection between the Cubao Station and Gateway Mall but the pictures didn’t come out right (Note: I usually only use my cell phone to take quick photos.). The same was the fate of photos I tried to take between Katipunan Station (Exit at St. Bridget’s) and the UP-Katipunan jeepney terminal. In the latter case, the rains and the crown prevented me from taking photos. I will try to get better ones to post next time and perhaps that post will focus on the conditions around stations including their connectivity to other modes of transport (e.g., convenience of transfers) and other aspects such as walkability.
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