Metro Manila · Trains (MRT/LRT/PNR)
Trains are the fastest but certainly not the most convenient way to travel long distances in the Megacity. There are five railway lines in Metro Manila: PNR Southrail and Northrail, LRT 1 and 2, and MRT 3.
It is getting crowded
For Megacitizens, it is recommended not to take the PNR at all and not to take the LRT and MRT during rush hour. With several road construction projects being done in the Metro Manila area, trains are almost constantly overcrowded. Some train stations in the outskirts have become notorious for endless lines of commuters waiting for tickets in the early morning and after work. It can be a challenge to squeeze in the trains even on weekends. Fortunately the MRT and LRT cars have air conditioning.
MRT is planning to purchase 48 new vehicles, but bureaucratic problems have halted the process. Additional train lines have been planned for a long time as well, but their realization is not yet in sight.
How to ride the train
Just go up to a station and buy a ticket at the counter. State which station you want to go down at and hand the money according to the fare matrix on the window. Bring coins, as the tickets only cost around 13 pesos, depending on the distance. Proceed to the security check and then confirm the direction of your travel to get on the right train. The first car is reserved for females, persons with disability, senior citizens, children with guardians, and pregnant women including accompanying husband. Keep your card to insert it at the turnstyle at your destination.
Always take care of your belongings in the stations and trains!
While the MRT and PNR tested extended operating hours for a few weeks in early 2014, the operating hours were reverted back to 5 am to 11 am for the MRT, and roughly 5 am to 8 pm for PNR. The LRT operates from 5 am to 10 pm on weekday, and until 9 pm on weekends. Operating hours are often extended during holidays and special events.
As of 2015, LRT-1 with stations from Baclaran to Roosevelt and LRT-2 with stations from Recto to Santolan increased their fares from P20 to P30 and
P15 to P25, respectively. MRT-3 end-to-end trips are now at P28 instead of paying P15.
A debate sprung from this issue due to the "user-pays" principle where LRT and MRT riders shoulder most of the cost instead of the government subsidizing it.
Inside the train stations you find food stalls and vendors offering cellphone load, phone covers, and many other goods. Most train stations are located near big shopping malls.
You can not simply transfer from one train system to the other. There are a few links in the Megacity where, for example, an LRT station is located near an MRT station, but in order to change trains you always have to walk a bit and get a new ticket.
Proposed Underground Line
An underground line from Makati to Fort Bonifacio got its "OK" from NEDA-ICC’s cabinet as of January 2015 but the project is yet to be approved by the President. Manila’s proposed subway will have stations near Market Market and near St. Luke's Hospital at The Fort, and will likely be connected to EDSA-MRT stations on Buendia and Ayala Avenue, Makati Central Post Office, the PNR station on Buendia, and the LRT 1 station located at Buendia and Taft. It will also go across Roxas Boulevard towards the World Trade Center and SM Mall of Asia and back to the EDSA-MRT station located on Taft.
Along with the Fort Bonifacio-Makati-SM MOA subway, NEDA-ICC has also approved a railway project that goes through Manila, Legazpi, and Calamba.
Beep (Smart Card)
Beep was recently introduced to Megacitizens as a replacement for the magnetic cards used for the LRT and MRT stations. Single journey cards are still available though but many passengers are now using Beep because of its convenience.
Beep cards are acceptedd by LRT Lines 1 and 2 and MRT Line 3. Officials say that Beep's coverage will expand to PNR, buses, tollways, jeepneys, and convenience stores later on.