LIGHT Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) claimed another record breaking feat last year for the most number of passengers for a single year.

LRTA Administrator Melquiades Robles said a total of 149.44 million passengers used the Baclaran-Monumento Line (Line 1) in 2009, beating the old record of 145.83 million passengers set in 1994.

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“With this all-time high, the LRT has established itself as the real alternative transportation in the metropolis for both the masses and the middle class. They have really learned to patronize the LRT systems. In fact, our ridership record remained high even during those times when fuel prices were low,” Robles said.

He said traffic congestion, volatile fuel prices, increasing environmental awareness, the fielding of more trains, continuously improving services, and affordable fare rates, all contributed to LRTA’s successful year.

Robles also attributed the record breaking feats to the LRTA’s Capacity Expansion Project (Phase II) that was completed in 2007, as well as the speedy rehabilitation of all trains, some of which were inoperative for almost 15 years.

“Because of CAPEX II and our rehabilitation efforts, we now have more trains to service passengers and bigger station with more tellers’ booths to accommodate them,” the official said.

Last year, the country’s first mass transport system broke its own record (set in December 16, 1996) for the most number of passengers ferried during the Feast Day of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila when it counted an unprecedented 582,989 passengers who took the Line 1 system.

On the same day, a new combined ridership record of 785,674 passengers for both its Line 1 and Recto-Santolan System (Line 2) was also established, surpassing its 2007 record of 542,605.

This year, the LRTA is expecting another surge in its passenger volume once its North Extension Project begins its commercial run on February.

To ensure the safety of its passengers, Robles said they have acquired x-ray machines to expedite their way of checking the baggage of passengers.

The machines will be similar to those installed in the country’s airports.

The LRTA chief said the x-ray machines will be put up, initially, on the Santolan and Monumento stations as these are usually packed with people. (AH/Sunnex)