Manila Metro Subway Skytrain
Manila, the metropolitan area of the capital of the Philippines is home to some 10 million people. A light metro system (Mass Rail Transit - MRT), which runs mainly elevated, is being developed:
LRT 1 is a fully elevated north-south route opened 1 Dec. 1984 (7 km) and June 1985 (8 km). It runs along Rizal and Taft Avenues (15 km, 18 stations). The capacity of the line was increased in 1998. The line runs on a precast concrete structure 7 m above the street, designed to withstand earthquakes. It has 1435 mm gauge and 750 V overhead power supply. Average station distance is 825 m, stations are only accessible via stairs, there are no elevators or escalators. Central, Monumento (northern terminal) and Baclaran (southern terminal) function as transfer station to buses and jeepneys. Trains operate in 2-4 car units (one unit 29.3 m long, 2.5 m wide), which have roof ventilation. A 12 km southern extension will be built by SNC-Lavalin (Canada) (Oct.2000).
MRT 3 (popularly called METROSTAR) runs elevated along EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Ave.) ring road (except Buendia station which is underground). The central section opened on 16 Dec. 1999, the southern section, which connects to LRT 1 followed on 20 July 2000. The total length is now 16.8 km, once the northern section is built the line will be 24 km.
After the first months of operation, ridership was far below expectations, mainly due to high fares compared to buses and long flights of stairs to access the elevated stations. Metrostar trains are air-conditioned.