Starting Monday, February 24, trains of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) will have longer operating hours to give commuters more options during peak traffic hours as road projects in the metropolis begin in earnest.
Extending train hours “is part of our program to mitigate the traffic situation. Based on the test run, we will monitor how much passengers are willing to alter their riding habits by commuting earlier in the morning or later in the evening,” Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said Thursday.
“We will also see whether this will encourage motorists to take the train instead of their cars,” Sagcal added.
MRT3 currently opens at 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. But from February 24 until March 7, operations will start at 4:30 a.m. from the North Avenue station and 5 a.m. from the Taft Avenue station.
In the following two workweeks, or from March 10 to 21, the evening runs will be extended to 10:30 p.m. from the North Avenue station and to 11 p.m. from the Taft Avenue station.
After the four-week testing period, the MRT-3 management will decide if the longer hours will be regularized, based on its impact on commuters, daily train maintenance requirements, and the additional cost of operation.
The DOTC had announced that the Philippine National Railways (PNR) would begin its Special Coach service to ply the Tutuban to Sta. Rosa route. The scheme also aims to ease traffic.
Meanwhile, vehicular flow on EDSA is expected to slow to a snail’s pace this weekend.
This, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), is because of the scheduled road reblocking and repairs of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In its advisory, the MMDA said road works will start on Friday at 10 p.m. and will last until Feb. 24, Monday, around 5 a.m.
The areas to be affected include the stretch between Boni Avenue and Guadalupe Bridge (Southbound), in Mandaluyong City; the stretch between Guadalupe Bridge and South Drive (Southbound, 5th Lane), Makati City; and the stretch between Don Ang Street and Gen. Tinio Street, (Northbound, Lane 5), Caloocan City.
The MMDA advised motorists to use alternate routes to avoid heavy traffic in the
“All roads will be fully passable by Monday morning,” the MMDA said.
Meanwhile, Makati City is set to implement a rerouting plan that will take effect on February 23 at 1 p.m. to make way for the holding of the Caracol Festival at Circuit Makati.
In its traffic guidelines, the Makati Public Safety Department (PSD) said the stretch of Hippodromo Street from Liwayway St. to A.P. Reyes St. will be closed to traffic.
This also includes portions of streets adjacent to Hippodromo, namely, Liwayway, Sampaguita, Kakarong, Sampaguita, Zapote, Hiwaga, and Economia as well as the stretch of A.P. Reyes St. from J.P. Rizal to Pascua St.
PSD chief Hermenegildo San Miguel advised residents and visitors who will join the festival that only the gate of Circuit Makati near Taliba St. corner Hippodromo St. will be open to the public.
Only event organizers, participants and special performers will be allowed to enter through the other gates, he said.
Contestants are expected to assemble at the side of Hippodromo and Olympia Sts. for a parade at 2 p.m. along Hippodromo going to A.P. Reyes towards the main gate of Circuit Makati.
Vehicles on J.P. Rizal going towards Taft Avenue must go straight past A.P. Reyes St. instead of turning right.
Those bound towards EDSA/Guadalupe may take Kalayaan Avenue, which will be open to two-way traffic.
Jeepneys plying the Mantrade-Libertad-PRC route, coming from Pasong Tamo Extension, shall turn left at J.P. Rizal then left to Pasong Tirad towards their destination.
Meanwhile, participants and revelers coming with their own vehicles are advised to park along Trabajo St. (right side of J.P. Rizal, next street after Constancia St.), as it is the nearest to the Circuit Makati gate.
Commuters, on the other hand, will only need to walk a short distance to the gate (near Taliba corner Hippodromo) if they alight at Taliba or Trabajo St.