The supposed inauguration of the two new stations of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) on Tuesday, June 22, has been moved to next month, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) announced.
In a statement on Monday, June 21, LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said the inauguration of the East Extension Project has been rescheduled on July 5 to give way to additional preparatory works on the rail line.
The two new stations—the Marikina Station (in front of the Sta. Lucia mall and Robinsons) and the Antipolo Station (in front of SM Masinag)—will start operations the next day, July 6.
“We regret to inform the riding public that the long-awaited opening of the four-kilometer LRT-2 East Extension Project was postponed for at least two weeks to give maximum time for the contractor to complete the signalling migration and integration works, and other preparatory activities,” Berroya said.
According to Berroya, the signalling system is vital in railway operations to ensure a safe and smooth train and traffic movement, controlled speed, accurate platform position, safe distance between trains, and automatic stop in cases of technical breakdown. It was designed based on railway fail-safe principles.
Berroya also explained that the ongoing global pandemic has constrained travel, restricting the arrival of foreign technical experts tapped to work on the signalling system and some critical equipment necessary to conduct the integration activity and monitor the compliance of the project with Railway Safety International Standards.
“We cannot compromise and risk the safety of the passengers so we recommended the postponement of the operations to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to which the DOTr concurred,” he said.
Meanwhile, the LRTA chief appealed for the understanding of the public as operations from Santolan to Recto on the purple line will be shut down on two consecutive weekends (June 26 to 27 and July 3 to 4) for the integration of the signaling system of the two new stations.
The launch of the East Extension project was initially scheduled last April 26 but was deferred due to the high number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases among LRT-2 personnel, as well as the enforcement of strict quarantine restrictions.
With the completion of the project, travel time from Recto to Antipolo is expected to significantly drop to about 40 minutes from the usual three hours via bus or jeepney.
This will also allow LRT-2 to accommodate an additional 80,000 passengers daily, boosting the entire rail line’s current daily ridership to 240,000 passengers.