MANILA, Philippines ? More persons rode on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 in the past two years, with ridership going up significantly by more than eight percent and five percent, respectively, data from both transport systems revealed.
MRT and LRT officials said they expected the number of passengers to increase further because of rising fuel prices and transport fare hikes.
?Our ridership increases by about five percent every year, although it has increased by only three percent in the early part of the year compared to the same period in 2007, ? said MRT-3 General Manager Roberto Lastimoso. ?But that is because we have reached our maximum capacity. When we add more trains, the number of passengers serviced will soar as more people use the trains.?
Based on MRT-3 data, the system serviced 23,600 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) when it started operating. Since 2004, however, ridership volume has been increasing because of rising fuel prices, prompting more people to stop using their cars in favor of the mass railway transport system. From the latter part of 2007 to early this year, the MRT-3 ferried almost 27,000 pphpd.
Last year, the MRT-3 serviced almost 143 million passengers, compared to 135 million passengers in 2006.
Lastimoso said the steady increase in peak-hour ridership showed a continued shift in commuting behavior, with more people opting for overhead trains instead of public buses and jeepneys.
With the continuous rise in passenger volume, the MRT management plans to increase its 350,000 passengers a day capacity to 600,000 depending on the government?s buyout of the rail system from MRT Corp.