At least 20,000 commuters will be affected daily by the impending closure of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
Thus, said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railway Cesar Chavez during a public hearing of fhe House Committee on Transportation on Thursday, Feb. 16. The hearing focused on updates on ongoing railway projects.
Chavez told the House panel chaired by Antipolo City 2nd district Rep. Romeo Acop that the department was eyeing the temporary closure of the PNR this coming summer in order to speed up the construction of the South Commuter Railway Project.
"Pagkatapos ho ng pandemic, bumaba ho yan sa 20,000. Ngayon nasa highest is 25 , hirap pa ho silang makakuha (After the pandemic, the ridership went down to 20,000. The highest we've recorded now is 25,000, but that's hard to achieve)," Chavez said.
Out of the figure, he said the Alabang to Calamba route accounts for 2,000 riders, with the Makati to Tutuban line covering most of the remaining ridership.
The DOTr official assured the lawmakers that they will coordinate with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in order to set up alternate modes of transportation for those who will be affected by the PNR shutdown.
While Chavez couldn't give a date yet on when the PNR would be closed down, he said it would most likely happen in the summer. He also didn’t say for how long the train line would be closed.
It was only last Feb. 9 that PNR opened its San Pablo to Calamba line in Laguna, which is Southeast of the metropolis.