MANILA – Passengers taking the Light Rail Transit-2 (LRT-2) East Extension from Santolan to Antipolo and vice versa may be able to ride for free for the next two weeks.
This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte asked Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday if it is possible to offer a free ride in the new LRT-2 stations, which will open on July 5.
“Binulungan ko si Art. Sabi ko, ‘Art, puwede bang isa, dalawa o kaya mo dalawang linggong libreng pasakay para naman maligayahan yung mga tao lalo na yung mga estudyante (I whispered to Art. I said, ‘Art, can you give two or three weeks of free rides so that people will be happy, especially students?’) Can I ask for a moratorium sa bayad, libre (in fare, free) for two or three weeks?” he said during a speech at the LRT-2 East Extension Project’s formal inauguration.
Tugade responded that two-week free LRT-2 rides from Santolan to Antipolo station and vice versa would be possible.
“Two weeks daw. Kaya daw niya. Mabuhay si Art Tugade (He said we can give free rides for two weeks. Long live Art Tugade),” Duterte added.
He also expressed a desire to ride a train for the first time because his hometown in Davao City has no LRT.
“Hindi kasi ako nakakasakay ng train sa totoo lang. Walang train sa amin eh. Gusto ko magsakay para mamasyal (I don’t have a chance to ride a train, to be honest. We don’t have trains from where we live. I want to take a ride to explore),” he said.
Meanwhile, Duterte lauded Tugade for his achievements in the transportation sector, particularly in enhancing accessibility in Metro Manila.
“I’ve been saying this all over again, being redundant about it, but this guy was our valedictorian sa (in) law school. Alam ko talaga na marunong kaya ito ang una kong pinakausapan na samahan ako as journey ko of my presidency (I know he knows what to do that’s why he was among the first I approached to join me in my journey in presidency),” he said.
Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, who was also in attendance, he added, were among the Cabinet secretaries who performed “exceedingly well” during his term.
Tugade stated that the PHP4.5 billion LRT-2 East Extension Project has added 3.793 kilometers to the current 13.8-kilometer LRT-2 line from Recto in Manila to Santolan in Antipolo.
The extended line will have two new stations — Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo.
Tugade further stated that the LRT Line 2 trains, which now travel from Recto Station to Santolan Station and vice versa, had been extended to eight from five.
The LRT-2 East Extension Project will reduce travel time from Claro M. Recto, Manila to Masinag, Antipolo from three hours to 30 to 40 minutes once it is operational.
The average daily passenger capacity of the LRT-2 East Extension Project is anticipated to grow from 240,000 to 320,000 as a result of the project.