July 18, 2012
Metro traffic to ease with full integration of MRT, LRT systems
Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday said he expects the worsening traffic gridlocks in Metro Manila to ease once the seamless unification of the MRT and LRT systems is completed and key road infrastructures are in place.
"The rail tracks of both railway lines are already physically interconnected. The integration of the two railway systems would mean more passengers being transported from point A to point B in faster fashion and without having to add to the traffic on the ground," Recto, Senate ways and means chair, said.
He said the combination of the MRT and LRT lines coupled with an affordable fare rates would encourage Metro Manila residents to use the elevated railways to reach their destination rather than taking buses or using their own vehicles.
Recto nevertheless said there may be a need to refurbish the old trains and add new coaches in the MRT-LRT lines to accommodate the expected surge in passenger traffic.
"Traffic is never going away. The solution lies in providing efficient, commuter-friendly and mass-based means of transportation," he said, adding that in the immediate future, the government in partnership with the private sector could produce locally-made train coaches.
"If we can manufacture buses, we can manufacture coaches," Recto emphasized.
He said with more people taking the MRT-LRT lines above ground and as the number of public buses dwindles due to poor ridership, daily travel time of people would improve as well as the air quality.
Recto said another key transport infrastructure that could ease Metro traffic is the linking up of SLEX to NLEX, which would siphon off vehicular traffic that are just passing through Metro Manila in order to access the two major expressways.
"With the NLEX-SLEX connector, private vehicles and trucks that are actually bound for NLEX or SLEX need not pass through Metro Manila just to access the expressways," he said.
He said traffic in the South will also ease with the impending extension of LRT Line 1 to Cavite while the province of Bulacan will be linked to Quezon City via MRT-7 to help decongest North-bound traffic.
Recto said the country loses about $2.5 billion in foregone opportunities and revenues yearly because of the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila.
He said public utility buses should likewise be tapped to contribute their share in bringing back sanity to the streets by adopting uniform standards like size, make, routes and fuel efficiency and replacing the boundary or quota system with regular monthly salary for drivers.
Dubbed by the national government as "Closing the Loop," the P6.3 billion project connects the MRT Line 3 station on North Avenue in Quezon City to the LRT Line 1 in Monumento, Caloocan, a previously non-existent route.
Riders, however, could only take the LRT 1 up to the Roosevelt-Munoz station of the "Loop", which is practically one station away from MRT North Avenue station.
Once the integrated line becomes operational, it would add an average of 100,000 commuters daily to the current average of 1.2 million passengers for all the elevated mass transit systems.
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