‘Night shift jobs’: Commuters call for extension of Metro Manila railway operations

August 10, 2023 - 3:57 PM
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Passengers wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) queue to ride a train while others exit at a station in Manila, Philippines, April 4, 2022. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Online Filipinos are hopeful for the extension of railway operations in Metro Manila that could serve night or graveyard shift workers and other commuters in need of alternative transportation amid the traffic.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, user @_karensison wondered about the operating hours of trains in Metro Manila. She thought of the commuters’ work schedules, particularly those in the business process outsourcing industry and those on night duty.

“You know what really doesn’t make sense here in Metro Manila? How the last rides of trains are between 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. In a city with so many call centers and night shift jobs!! And even [without] that context, that time range is way too early,” the online user wrote.

Her post has earned 8,900 likes and more than 480 quotes, with some Filipinos agreeing with her sentiments as they share their own commuting experiences.

“Same thought, especially when I reported to office last week. At 9 p.m., there are still a lot of commuters in the street, waiting for an available public transport [transport]. Tapos LRT-2, nagsasara [around] 10 p.m. I went to Hiroshima [Japan] and sobrang low ang ridership dun, but up sila till midnight,” another X user wrote.

“Huhuhu, my everyday struggle while working night shift, after 9:30 p.m., wala ng train southbound. No choice din but to book Grab [or] Joyride kasi inalis na nila bus stop sa Boni,” commented a different online user.

“Righttttt (loudly crying emoji) just realized this recently kasi it would be soooo convenient if 24/7 ang trains instead of taking stupid Joyride [or] Angkas rides na pagkamahal-mahal,” wrote another X user.

“6 p.m. to 9 p.m. lagi classes ko sa Taft [Taft Avenue] before and taga-Katip [Katipunan] pa ko??? Girl, the amount of cardio from LS-Vito Cruz Station, then Doroteo to Recto, umabot lang sa last train,” wrote another Pinoy with a face exhaling emoji.

Vito Cruz and Doroteo Jose are stations of the Light Rail Transit-Line 1 (LRT-1), with the latter being the connecting station to Light Rail Transit-Line 2‘s Recto Station.

X user @_karensison also recalled a past response from railway managements about the possibility of extending operating hours and shared her comment.

“On the comment about lower ridership beyond 7 p.m.: I don’t think trains always need to be at full capacity in order to operate,” she posted.

Last year, acting Metro Manila Development Authority chair Romando Artes requested for the extension of Metro Rail Transit-Line 3’s respective operating hours concurrent with the shopping malls’ extension for the Holiday season.

During which, the MMDA chief announced that shopping malls in Metro Manila would open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Nov. 14, 2022 to Jan. 6, 2023 to prevent the anticipated surge of vehicular traffic on Christmas and New Year.

However, the MRT-3 and the LRT-2 operators said they were unlikely to extend hours then.

The MRT-3 management previously reasoned that extending hours would “affect the system’s maintenance schedule,” which they said is usually slated at night when it ends its public operations for the day.

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) also cited the same reason and added that fewer passengers ride trains beyond 7 p.m.

“The LRT-2 has extended its operating hours in June 2022, from 9 p.m. closing time to 9:30 p.m.,” it said before.

Every weekday, the MRT-3 along EDSA has its first trip at the North Avenue Station at 4:36 a.m. while the station’s last trip is at 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, its Taft Avenue Station has its first trip at 5:18 a.m. and its last trip at 10:11 p.m.

The LRT-2, which runs in cities that the Radial Road 6 passes through, starts its respective operations in Antipolo and Recto Stations at 5 a.m.

Recto Station has its last trip at 9:30 p.m, while Antipolo Station has its last trip at 9:00 p.m.

On the other hand, the LRT-1, which predominantly runs along Taft Avenue and Avenida, has its first trips from the Roosevelt and Baclaran Stations at 4:30 a.m. every weekday.

Meanwhile, the last trip of Roosevelt Station is at 10:15 p.m., while Baclaran Station is at 10:00 p.m.

Trains are the fastest mode of public transportation since it does not encounter traffic, unlike vehicles on the road.

This allows railway commuters to have more efficient use of their time since they will be spared from periods of waiting — from looking for a public transport, down to sitting in an unmoving vehicle during heavy traffic congestion.

Railways are also cost-effective compared to other modes of transport since they do not use fuel.