Residents of Antipolo and Marikina City are expected to have a smoother commute with the opening of two new LRT-2 Line (Light Rail Transit-2 Line) stations next week.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday led the inauguration of the LRT Line 2 East Extension Project, which adds 3.793 kilometers from the existing LRT-2 line with Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo stations.
Duterte also unveiled the marker of the extension project at Antipolo station.
The president also announced that there will be free LRT 2 trips in the next two weeks to commuters from Santolan to Antipolo and vice-versa.
This came after Duterte asked Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade for a moratorium on train ride fees of the said route.
Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo stations will start operations on July 6, according to the Department of Transportation.
Once operational, this will reduce travel time from Claro M. Recto to Masinag from three hours via bus or jeepney to just 30 to 40 minutes.
With the two new stations, the DOTr said it is expected to have 80,000 passengers daily to the current 240,000 ridership of the LRT-2.
In an advisory, DOTr said that “trains on the line running from Recto Station in Manila to the Antipolo Station have also been increased to eight from the previous five that run from Recto Station to the Santolan Station.”
“Further, the completion of the LRT-2 East Extension Project is expected to help reduce traffic congestion along Marcos Highway, especially in Marikina, Pasig, and Antipolo given that road transport passengers will be redirected to riding the train,” it added.
Initially, the opening of the LRT-2 East Extension had been set on April 26 which was moved to June 23 and deferred anew on July 6 due to quarantine restrictions.
The Light Rail Transit Authority said the postponement was made to “give maximum time for the contractor to complete the signaling migration and integration works and other preparatory activities.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has also restricted the travel of foreign technical experts and has delayed the arrival of some critical equipment necessary for the integration activity and the monitoring of compliance with safety standards,” the LRTA said.
“We cannot compromise and risk the safety of the passengers so we recommended the postponement of the operations to the Department of Transportation to which the DOTr concurred,” the statement read.
The LRT Line 2 East Extension was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority in September 2012 under the Aquino administration.
Construction of viaducts started in April 2015 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in June of the same year.
In 2017, another groundbreaking event happened as well as the actual and full blast construction of the two new stations.