Urban transport in the Philippines: More light rail projects in Manila


The large transportation infrastructure projects of the administration in the Philippines also include transport in cities. The plans are intended to solve the most pressing chronic congestion problems in areas such as the metropolitan area of ​​Manila.

The main urban centres of the Philippines have to respond to the growing demand for more means of public transport, given the mass traffic issues. Hence, the Executive has proposed to reduce congestion problems. Most of the approved funds will be awarded to developments in Luzon and the Manila Metropolitan Railway, as well as in the urban centres of Cebu and Mindanao. The aim is to provide travellers with a more efficient and modern transport system.

One of the key focuses is in Metro Manila, the metropolitan area of ​​the capital of the Philippines has around 10 million people. The current system consists of three lines and is mostly overland. The lines LRT 1 and LRT2 are in charge of Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), a corporation controlled by the government under the authority of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The first one (LRT-1) of 19.65 kilometres runs from north to south, has 20 stations and serves 500,000 passengers a day. The 13.8-kilometre LRT-2 covers an east-west route with 31 stops. Despite being classified as a light rail, it has characteristics that make it more like a metro network due to its technology, high passenger volume and exclusive passage. In addition to these two branches, since 1999, the MRT3 (Mass Rapid Transit 3) is in operation. This network, also called the new “Yellow Line”, has a daily traffic of 650,000 passengers. They are joined by the commuter connection of the National Railways of the Philippines. There are two stations that serve as interchangers, the one at Araneta-Cubao and the one at Avenida Taft. At present, a renewal plan for L1 and L2 is being carried out, along with the extension of the network with the addition of new kilometres of track.

LRT-1: Extension to Cavite

The extension to Cavite will cover 11.7 kilometres. The works will start in 2018 and end in 2022. The project will be financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Building work shall be entrusted to the consortium formed by Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), and has an allotted budget of 64.9 billon Philippine pesos (1.094 billion euros). It will run from Baclaran station to Bacoor. There will be eight new stations with intermodal facilities in Pasay City, Paranaque City, Las Pinas City and Cavite. Regarding the new trains, on December 1, 2017, the Department of Transportation of the Philippines (DOTr) signed a contract for the supply of new rolling stock for this expansion with Mitsubishi Corporation and CAF.

L-RT4: Nettles-Taytay

Line 4 (LRT-4) will be built in Metro Manila and Rizal. It is also known as “Ortigas-Taytay”. With this branch the suburban Taytay, in Rizal, will be joined with the Ortigas Center commercial district, in the east of Manila. The route will have a length of 11 kilometres and feature six stations. The project will cost approximately 50.2 billion Philippine pesos (846 million euros). In June 2015, it was approved by the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority as a public-private partnership project and the current Government has kept it on the agenda. When completed, it is expected to significantly reduce the volume of vehicular traffic along Ortigas Avenue and improve connectivity in the eastern parts of the metropolis, including nearby municipalities in the south of Rizal.

LRT-6 to Dasmariñas

The Line 6 project, which has a budget of 65 billion Philippine pesos (1.096 Bn€), will cover a 19-kilometre route from Niyog, Bacoor (the extension of the Cavite LRT 1 extension) to the city of Dasmariñas. The proposed alignment will have seven stations: Niyog, Tirona, Imus, DaangHari, Salitran, Congressional Avenue and Governor’s Drive.

 Metro Manila

The Philippines will have its first metro system for the second quarter of 2024. The Department of Transportation recently indicated that the route has been extended to include a station at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The network will extend from north to south from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City, to the airport in Pasay City. The initial stage requires an investment of 355,600 million Philippine pesos (5,998 M €) and will have an assistance loan for the development of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Construction is expected to begin in mid-2018, and end in 2025. There will be 25 kilometres of underground track that will connect the main business districts and this is expected to service 370,000 passengers a day in its first year of operations.