By Alexandria San Juan
The Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) is expected to resume its Santolan to Anonas run by end of September, months later than the earlier announced timeline due to the delay in procurement process caused by restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Spokesperson Hernando Cabrera said the three stations may begin to operate in September if the procurement process to facilitate the restoration of the electrical system was completed by June.
“Kapag na-award na ang contract, binibigyan ng three months para maisagawa at matapos ang temporary supply system. Kung ma-award by June, puwede nang magamit ang tatlong istasyon by end of September,” Cabrera said in a Laging Handa virtual briefing on Tuesday, May 26.
[Translation: When the contract is finally awarded, there will be three months to work on and finish the temporary supply system of the three stations. If awarded by June, these stations will be up and running by end of September.]
The LRTA announced earlier this year that the three shuttered stations of LRT-2 are expected to reopen by the end of June, however, Cabrera explained that the procurement process originally set by March this year had been halted due to the health crisis.
“Unfortunately, inabutan tayo nitong COVID-19 pandemic kaya hindi na natuloy ang procurement process hanggang sa pag-award. Hopefully by June ma-resume na ulit and procurement process,” Cabrera added.
[Translation: We were caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic, so the procurement process up to the awarding of the contract had been postponed. With hope, we would be able to resume the procurement process by June.]
With this, the LRTA official said that the three eastern stations will remain closed should the government push for shifting Metro Manila from a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) next month, which will allow the resumption of public transportation.
Cabrera assured that the line’s Recto to Cubao stations are now ready to serve the riding public as safety and health protocols are already in place, such as physical distancing guides and marks, and regular sanitation of trains after every loop.
“‘Yung operation mula Recto hanggang Cubao, and vice versa, ay ready na dahil naisagawa na natin lahat ng maintenance na kailangan. Araw-araw pinapatakbo ang mga tren para hindi matengga, at araw-araw din may nag-rereport na train operators just in case may mga emergency,” he added.
[Translation: We’re ready to resume operations from Recto to Cubao, and vice versa, as we are done with all the maintenance needed. The trains have been made to run daily to avoid inactivity, and train operators send regular reports just in case there are emergencies.]
Operations from Santolan to Anonas stations have been suspended since October 2019, after a fire damaged two rectifier substations in Katipunan and Anonas.
The 13.8-kilometer-long LRT-2 services around 5 million passengers in a month, with trains running across 11 stations from Santolan in Marikina City to Recto in Manila when fully operational. But due to limited operations brought by the shut down of the three eastern stations and lesser passenger capacity to observe social distancing protocols, the LRTA said that it now expects to serve 450,000 riders monthly.
Opened in 2003, the LRT-2 is the youngest among the current LRTA monorails and has the shortest routes among the existing railway systems in the country. It serves as the main mode of transportation for commuters with destinations along Aurora Boulevard, Araneta Avenue, Marcos Highway, Magsaysay Boulevard, Legarda, and Recto Avenue.