SEVERE OVERCROWDING on Manila’s privately-operated light rail Line 3 is to be relieved under a proposal being drawn up by the Philippines Department of Transportation & Communications.

Built under a 25-year BOT concession, Line 3 from Taft Avenue to North Avenue follows the EDSA orbital ring road on the east side of the city centre. The government is planning to buy out the concessionaire, because this offers a potential saving of 1bn pesos in subsidy over the contract term.

Under the 6·5bn pesos expansion programme, DoTC expects to order an extra 48 LRVs, which would permit the operation of four-car trainsets at 150sec headways. This would lift capacity from 23600 to 32000 passengers/h in each direction at peak times. The package includes 4·9bn pesos for the new cars and 620m pesos for power supply upgrading.

DoTC also hopes to complete feasibility studies this month for a 6·4 km extension of Line 3 from North Avenue to the planned North Rail station at Calcoocan, adding four stations and an interchange with light rail Line 1. Work on the 10·8bn pesos project is expected to start in 2007, with opening envisaged by the end of 2009.