Trackless Trains


To solve the overcrowding problem in Light Railway Transit (LRT) coaches, the LRTA (LRT Authority) purchased $81M worth of trains. That’s 48 train wagons at $1.7M, a reasonable price. Now, the LRT which used to suffer serving 48,000 passengers a day can now accommodate 500,000 passengers with ease.

Problem solved right? Well, not quite. Since there aren’t enough tracks for these trains to run on.

Passengers overcrowd LRT coaches daily.
Passengers overcrowd LRT coaches daily.

Normally, we build tracks and then put trains to run on them. Not in the Philippines however, as the bidding for the new coaches were done first.

The Metro Railway Transit (MRT), which serves more passengers than the LRT, has 73 trains in all and 13 of them are on standby. To save on costs, why didn’t the LRT propose to lease the surplus trains?

The last time the LRT got new coaches was in 2006, when Japan helped fund the acquisition of 12 modern Third Generation (3G) trains. At that time the LRT had 63 first generation and 28 second generation trains. The new trains raised the standards of train travel.

But the age of the trains doesn’t solve the overloading problems. The LRTA has to face the problem of serving over 50,000 passengers daily and thrice more during holidays like All Soul’s Day and Christmas.

Purchase of the new trains was really a practical decision, but as to where the trains would run on that would be a problem. Trains would be useless if they can’t run. (Duh?)

Usually purchases as big as this would undergo a study or two, finding out if this would be a good investment or not. If one was indeed done, they certainly overlooked something very obvious.

Anomaly? I wish not to be a whistleblower. All I’m concerned with is the welfare of train commuters using the LRT everyday as well as the taxpayers whose money may well have been kept in the wrong pockets.

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