On our way to a meeting at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Bicutan, Taguig City, we crossed the PNR line running parallel to the SLEX. I quickly took a photo of the scene to the right of our vehicle that showed an informal market and terminal. The informal market or talipapa is one you would usually finally elsewhere in many other places in the city and likely caters to mostly informal settlers residing along the PNR ROW. On our return trip from the DOST, we took the same route and again I quickly took a photo of what was on the other side of the road along the same PNR line. On the other side was the PNR Bicutan Station and what appears to be a clear ROW northbound towards Manila. Much has been accomplished in the clearing of the PNR’s ROW over the past years and the efforts included the relocation of many informal settlers in coordination with the local governments along the PNR line.
The PNR Bicutan Station on the north side of Gen. Santos Ave. near the SLEX Bicutan interchange
Non-motorized trolleys on the south side of Gen. Santos Ave. near the SLEX Bicutan Exit
The trolleys are informal transport vehicles serve people living along the PNR ROW including many informal settlements within and without the PNR property. Some of the buildings or structures of these informal settlers are visible in the photo downstream of the railroad crossing. There are similar cases in Manila and elsewhere along the PNR ROW including motorized trolley services in the provinces of Quezon and Camarines Sur, where trolleys are also utilized for public transport and are the means for livelihood by some of the same informal settlers.
There are increasing safety concerns for these vehicles, their operators and their passengers. The trolleys are lifted from the tracks an people clear the way once a train approaches. They return after the train has passed. With the PNR currently experiencing a revival of sorts, and if resources continue along with an increase in ridership, train frequencies should also be expected to increase. As such, there should come a time when trolleys would have to be banned along the entire line in order to minimize the chances for crashes involving trains and trolleys that will surely lead to fatal consequences. Perhaps the local governments along the PNR line should already look into this eventuality and initiate programs to address this issue, which can be associated with livelihood and residential concerns.