Trains in the Philippines

‘Feasible but costly:’ Train operators have no funds yet for platform barriers

Lance Spencer Yu

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‘Feasible but costly:’ Train operators have no funds yet for platform barriers

LRT1. Passengers arrive at the newly reopened Roosevelt station of the LRT1 in Quezon City on December 5, 2022.

Rappler

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista says the installation of the safety barriers should be looked into but this would require securing funding and engaging in further discussions with operators

MANILA, Philippines – Despite another non-fatal case of a person falling onto train tracks, funding constraints continue to halt plans to set up platform barriers in train stations.

“Yes, I agree that we should [install barriers] but we have to consider also availability of funds,” Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista told reporters on Wednesday, June 26. “Madaling sabihin na madaling gawin (It’s easy to say that it’s easy to do), but we have to consider the availability of funds.”

“I think it’s a very important structure that we should consider. Other countries, they already have these barriers, but of course, we need to get funding for this. So yes, I think we should look at it,” Bautista said on the sidelines of the signing of an operation and maintenance agreement for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1).

Bautista said setting up barriers in train stations would be “feasible but costly” and would require securing funding and engaging in further discussions with operators. Asked whether train barriers might be installed during this administration, Bautista said, “We hope so, yes.”

All elevated railway lines in the country – the LRT1, LRT2, and MRT3 – do not have safety barriers installed in train stations. Meanwhile, train stations in other Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China already have barriers with doors that only open after a train arrives.

BARRIERS. Train stations along Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system have barriers installed between station platforms and train tracks. Photo by Lance Spencer Yu/Rappler.
LRT1 incident

The renewed interest in platform barriers comes after a female passenger jumped onto the tracks of the LRT1 on Tuesday noon, June 25. CCTV footage shows the woman jumping onto the tracks while a train was approaching the Doroteo Jose Station. According to initial reports, the passenger sustained minor injuries and was brought to a hospital.

In April 2023, a female passenger also jumped onto the southbound tracks of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Quezon Avenue Station, eventually sustaining fatal injuries. Following this, the management of the MRT3 said that it had long intended to install platform barriers but that “due to budgetary constraints, the proposals to establish platform barriers have not yet materialized.”

Even after the most recent incident, the transport secretary was still not keen on immediately setting up train barriers.

“Maybe one incident should not really affect the operations of all these railways. These railways have been operating for more than almost 50 years,” Bautista said.

With platform barriers for trains not likely to come soon, Bautista is instead eyeing the “continuing education of our passengers, telling them [about] the safety precautions that they should follow.”

“What we need here is a continuous education for our passengers. Because other countries, they also don’t have these barriers,” he said. – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.