It is safe to assume that light railway is the best thing to ever happen to Manila. Gone now are the days when we had to sweat it out in hours of heavy traffic in - horrors! - buses with no airconditioning. Today, 3 light railway lines traverse the length of the Metro. From Baclaran to Monumento, Pasay to North EDSA, from Recto to Santolan in Marikina City - moving around is now so much faster, easier and, well, comfortable most of the time (but not always).
This morning at 1:30AM (October 14), i saw the old Light Railway Transit (LRT 1) take delivery of its newest cars from Europe. Very sleek stainless cars with blue and yellow accents on the nose and doors. They made everyone at Roxas Boulevard stop what they were doing and stare at the marvelous trains being carried by huge trucks to LRT 1's depot in Baclaran. They look kinda slim unlike the wide cars of LRT 2 (Purple Line), but they look like they can run at 80 mph if only that wouldn't shake the cars too much (60 mph is ideal). This is good news for LRT1 riders because the old, Marcos-era cars are already so hot. The airconditioning system is always down and it would be impossible not reek of humanity and be sweat-drenched after the ride. Good thing all lines are almost fully elevated and windows can be opened in some parts to let in the air. LRT1 opened in 1984 and has 15 stations running through many important places in Manila. They were the first to designate the first car as exclusive for women and children.
As of this writing, two systems - MRT3 on EDSA and LRT1 on Taft - are already operating on full capacity. We need more trains to service these very important routes. LRT2 along Recto is filled only in the mornings and evenings with workers and students since the line traverses an area in Manila called the University Belt.
New developments will be happening soon. MRT3 will be linked to LRT1 from North EDSA to Monumento to complete the loop. LRT1 will be extended from Baclaran to Cavite and will allegedly pass through Las Piñas with 3 stations. MRT7 and the ground-based North Rain and South Rail are also currently being improved with the assistance of several governments notably that of Japan, China, South Korea and some countries in Europe.