By Kris Bayos | Tha Manila Bulletin | August 26, 2015

The government is adding 183 kilometers of mass transit lines across Metro Manila by 2021 in a bid to encourage lesser number of private cars on the road and decongest traffic.

 According to Transportation Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, the government is building eight new rail systems and two bus rapid transits (BRTs) in order to improve public transportation within the metropolis.

The eight new rail lines include the 11.7-kilometer Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 extension to Bacoor, Cavite; 15-kilometer LRT 6, which extends LRT 1 from Bacoor to Dasmariñas in Cavite; 3.05-kilometer LRT 2 extension to Port Area, Manila; 4-kilometer LRT 2 extension to Masinag, Antipolo; 11-kilometer LRT 6, which will connect EDSA-Ortigas to Taytay, Rizal; 22.8-kilometer Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 7, which will link North EDSA to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; and the 53.5-kilometer new rail lines to be built over the existing Philippine National Railways (PNR) between Malolos in Bulacan to Tutuban in Manila and from Tutuban and Calamba, Laguna.

Limcaoco also said two BRTs will soon operate across Metro Manila: 13-kilometer Manila BRT and the 49-kilometer EDSA BRT.

“As in all mass transit infrastructure projects, it (construction) does take long. All of these will be done by 2021,” Limcaoco said before the MAP meeting on “Metro Manila’s Traffic and Transport Woes.”

As of press time, Limcaoco said there is only 103 kilometers of mass transit lines serving commuters in Metro Manila.

The official also cited the government’s capacity expansion project for the MRT 3, adding 48 brand-new light rail vehicles to the fleet, as well as the unified ticketing system for the LRT and MRT.

Aside from the BRT, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is also adding new bus routes, creating express bus routes and building centralized terminals for provincial buses at the peripheries of Metro Manila.

Notably, Limcaoco cited a new DOTC project called Ortigas Greenways, which is a P260-million plan to build elevated and covered walkways from the MRT 3 Ortigas Station to the center of Ortigas Business District.

“What we are building is an Ortigas Greenways such that those getting off of Ortigas Station will go on an elevated walkway all the way to the center of Ortigas. This facility will cut down the walk by around 10 minutes,” he said.

“We are launching this at the end of 2016 and we intend to build more in order to make transfers from line to line easier and more comfortable,” Limcaoco added.