I the Problem and Its Background introduction

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The Problem and Its Background

Transportation has a pervasive influence in the modern society. It is very important economically even in other countries. In fact, transportation activity, including the manufacturing of vehicles amounts to about one – fifth of the United States’ Gross National Product (G.N.P.). On the average, U.S. households spend about $1 of every $8 on personal transportation. On the other hand, the Philippine’s basic commodities like food of various kinds, medicines, petroleum products, etc. are being transported from its producer’s factory or from piers or other ways of entry if it is imported, to a local retailer by mere land transportation. This is part of the Philippines’ industry which makes one – third of their GNP. Meanwhile, a Filipino student having minimum fare and enjoying transportation discounts today spends 360 pesos a month in personal transportation. In the past, transportation routes played major role in the siting of cities and today the transportation system affects where and how urban areas grow. Transportation has social and cultural impacts; it shapes our lives lifestyles. Issues involving transportation sometimes have a prominent place in political agendas.

The technologies used in transportation have evolved through history. In the 19th century, railroads were the principal means of travel for long distances. Today railroads have been largely replaced by automobiles and aviation. Within cities, various forms of transportation like horse – drawn carriages to electric subway trains were dominant from 1820 – 1920. Since then the automobile has become the most popular mean of urban travel but mass transit has continued to play a role.

None of this happened easily or painlessly. Overcoming the barrier of distance in a speedy fashion has always required money and effort; it has often had negative side effects. Experts on travel behavior believe that most people regard travel as a necessary evil to be minimized or traded of against other desires. Complaints abound.

Urban Public transportation is very relevant in one’s life for it is a part that he/she always encounter and do. Yet despite of this, one does not really pay much attention to it, still delve to it. One normally just goes about his/her business, go to school, ride their car or sometimes ride a train and bus, but all of these do not mean anything, unless one looks closer at it. Living in the metro somehow makes one immune already to the detrimental effects of the transportation he/she patronize. A person doesn’t even realize what’s the best mode of transportation one should use, some normally only care for their comfort which is very human.

In this study, the researcher aims to find the following through comparison of Metro Manila and New York train system:

  1. The Operations and Management specifically dealing with scheduling, speed/acceleration, passenger capacity, fare collections, accidents/crimes, and laborers required for job opportunities.

  2. The Energy Consumption and Environmental Impacts like Air Pollution, Noise and Aesthetics.

  3. The Construction, Vehicle, Operating and User Costs.


The study will enrich ones knowledge in urban mass transportation especially the train system present in Metro Manila and in New York. It will give the reader an idea on how each train system operates and works. It will also give implications on the importance of the mass transit system in our fast growing world that gives emphasis in bridging the distance gap. This study would also help one understand the beginnings, developments and difficulties that a transit system encounters with regards to corporate and public issues both here and in New York. Lastly, it will delve to the reader that Filipinos should be proud of their own transit system because it is a sign of progress and development.


In this paper, the MRT or Metro Rail Transit and MTA or Metropolitan Transport Authority will be presented briefly and more specifically through comparison. The study would go deeply on answering the said problems with the data available. Mass transit system will be dealt in the sense that it shall incorporate its history and tackle different issues it faces here in the Metro Manila and in New York. They would be compared and thoroughly analyzed against each other.

This study would not go deeply in the urban transportation in Metro Manila nor will it go that deep to urban transportation in New York. Both of the said topics would only be presented and briefly discussed for they only serve as a background or backdrop for the main concern of this research which is the MRT and MTA comparison.


Theoretical Framework

Public transport comprises all transport systems in which the passengers do not travel in their own vehicles. It is also called public transportation, public transit or mass transit. While it is generally taken to include rail and bus services, wider definitions would include scheduled airline services, ferries, taxicab services etc. or any system that transports members of the general public in shared vehicles.

The term rapid transit refers to fast public transport in and around cities, such as metro systems.

Public transport is the primary form of motor transport on Earth. While in the Western World private cars dominate, in poor countries, which represent the majority of human population most people can not afford a private car, so walking, motor/cycling or public transport are often the only options, especially for long distances.

Public transport can be faster than other modes of travel; prime examples are in cities where road congestion can be avoided, and for long distance travel where much higher speeds are possible than are permitted on roads. However, in many areas, public transport trips can take up to two to three times longer than an equivalent trip by automobile, especially if the pubic transport system is poorly developed, causing many detours or changeovers for a potential traveler. Increased road traffic congestion and improved transit systems are reducing or eliminating this disparity in many areas, and public transport use rises sharply with population density.

In the later 20th century, people became more aware of how transportation systems affect the environment. For example, the burning of petroleum-based fuels for motor vehicles creates pollution that can be harmful to human health. Other environmental effects of transportation systems include impacts on noise levels, water quality, hazardous materials, natural habitats, and wetlands. Many governments now require that before a new transportation project is begun a detailed study called an environmental impact statement must be prepared to anticipate how the project will affect the environment.


Since transit now has major competition from the automobile, new transit lines are less likely to affect urban form than a century ago. Today’s transit improvements do not provide the kind of drastic improvement in overall accessibility which was typically associated with earlier transit improvements. Some people argue that new transit routes have almost no impact on land use. Others claim that in the right conditions, transit can play a major role in shaping development. Many transit proposals are partly justified by the claim that they will increase property values and tax revenues. It is difficult to prove there is a net benefit to the city, even after the fact. Property values might have risen anyway, so it is necessary to compare the transit-affected area with a control area.



A major part of the work of planning transit improvements is to select the particular transit mode to implement. Transit modes can be distinguished on at least three dimensions: technology, right-of-way, and type of service. Combining these aspects lead to an elaborate classification. There are three families of modes: rail, bus, and paratransit. Rail and bus modes operate on fixed routes and fixed schedules. Paratransit has a variable route and/or schedule; it is also called demand-responsive transit. Selection of transit mode is often a controversial issue and may be highly politicized. Claims and counterclaims provide material for public debate and media accounts.


Suburban Railroad service for commuters, also called commuter rail or regional rail, was started by intercity railroads as a sideline before the civil war. It became important in several large cities. After a long period of decline, it has recently experienced a revival and currently exists in about ten U.S. cities. There are suburban railroads in many foreign cities; London and Paris have large networks. Suburban railroads also operate in Canada, Asia, Australia and other parts of Europe.


This mode to be referred to as subway-elevated because most tracks were located either underground or on structures elevated over streets and alleys. Now it is common to lay tracks at ground level, especially in the median strip of an expressway. The term heavy rail came into use to distinguish it from light rail, but the equipment is actually lighter than that of suburban railroads the term rail rapid transit is sometimes used, and in foreign countries the popular is metro rapid transit.


Light Rail Transit (LRT) is currently the most popular for of rail transit being proposed for cities. It is really a modern version of the electric streetcar; most of the vehicles are not intrinsically different from the PCC car. Often the track is laid in the street in places, but much of it is underground, on elevated guide way, or within a freeway right-of-way.


There has always been great interest in finding technological solutions to transportation problems. Many people believe the United States remains the leading economic power in the world largely because of its skill in inventing new technology. Successes in space exploration, computers, and weaponry make people wonder why there cannot be comparable breakthroughs in urban transportation. However, government support for technological development as a policy approach to transportation has waxed and waned over the years.


Monorail is often included with futuristic technologies, but actually it has a considerable history. The first monorail in the world was built in Wuppertal, Germany, In 1901 and is still operating. It is 8.3 miles long and has 19 stations. Short monorail systems have been erected at numerous world fairs and amusement parks; here millions of people have ridden monorail. As indicated by its name, the distinguishing characteristic of monorail is that it uses one rail instead of two. There are two types: in one, the cars are suspended by sturdy hangers from an overhead rail; in the other, the cars ride on top of a concrete beam and wrap around it.


High-speed trains, often called bullet trains, receive a great deal of publicity, and there have been several recent proposals to build lines in the United Sates. They may not seem to belong in a book on urban transportation, but the high speeds enable them to be used for commuting over considerable distances. There may be spin-offs from improvements in intercity trains that can be applied to urban rail transit.


Long before light rail transit (LRT) vehicles started gliding above Metro Manila road traffic, streetcars were trundling past sidewalks, accompanied by the clip-clop of horses.

Just prior to the arrival of rail in the city, up to the early 1880s, three types of horse-drawn carriages served this distant outpost of the Spanish empire. The carruaje, the most expensive, was four-wheeled and drawn by two horses. The quiles had two wheels and was drawn by one horse so it was cheaper to ride. Its close cousin, the calesa, can still be seen plying the streets of Binondo, one of the oldest parts of the city. The often dilapidated and dirty carromata charged the lowest fare.

In 1878, Leon Monssour, an official of the Department of Public Works, submitted a proposal to Madrid for a streetcar system. Apparently inspired by the systems in New York and Paris, Monssour envisioned a five-line network with a central station outside the walls of Intramuros, the fortress-like seat of Spanish power in the Philippines. From Plaza San Gabriel in Binondo, the lines were to run to Intramuros via the Puerte de Espania or today's Jones Bridge, to Malate Church, Malacañang where the Philippine President resides and works, and Sampaloc and Tondo, large districts north of the Pasig River today. The proposal found favor with the government, but it had to wait for an entrepreneur's initiative.

That entrepreneur was Jocobo Zobel de Zangroniz. Together with Spanish engineer Luciano M. Bremon and Madrid banker Adolfo Bayo, in 1882, the three formed La Compañia de i – tranvias de Filipinas to operate the concession awarded by the government. The Malacañang Line was not built and was replaced by the Malabon Line. These five routes became popular with commuters. The Manila-Malabon Line was the first to be finished, opening for business on 20 October 1888. All five were constructed between 1885 and 1889. The first , i – tranvias were horse-drawn omnibuses for 12 seated and 8 standing passengers. The system was 16.3-km long.

While four lines were horse-drawn, the Malabon ran on steam. Some 4 years later, the Manila Railroad Company, the country's first long-distance rail line north to Dagupan, 196 km away, started operation. So strictly speaking, the first steam railroad in the islands was a modest streetcar! Malabon's transfer points were Tondo, Maypajo, a working-class neighborhood in the suburb of Caloocan and Dulu, at the north end of that community.

By 1902, La Compañia had long since stopped expanding or improving its system. An average of only 10 streetcars plied the five lines daily. This was a far cry from the hourly service that provided 14 runs in each direction on the Malabon Line alone.

One year later, Manila city officials blamed slow economic growth and population congestion to ‘the antiquated horse-car system and the poorly constructed, unsatisfactory, and generally undesirable system of public vehicles’, to quote from their official report. These leaders reasoned that with improved transport, the railroad was specifically named, ‘many of those now paying high rents for small and unhealthy quarters will take advantage of this quick transportation and secure comfortable dwellings in better localities’.


The Philippine Commission on 20 October 1902 passed a law that set into motion franchises to be awarded to bidders for the construction and operation of electric power and transportation networks. Although publicized in newspapers in America and the Philippines as well as in a leading US railway journal, only one bid was submitted. On 24 March 1903, the Municipal Board of Manila passed Ordinance 44, accepting the bid of Charles M. Swift of Detroit. Three days later, a New Jersey company was established which eventually became the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company, better known as Meralco. Today, Meralco is still in the electric power business in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. Later, the Philippine Commission allowed Meralco to take over the properties of La Compañia de i – tranvias. Meralco paid a small fee for its streetcars to La Compañia's lines.

Swift was now under a deadline. He had 6 months to start building his systems and 20 months to get the job done. Ordinance 44 specified 12 lines. Today's LRT Line 1 closely follows the Meralco route to Pasay south of Manila and the Santa Cruz route. LRT Line 2 also adheres fairly well to the original lines Meralco laid down. With the exception of the Binondo and Intramuros areas, the network was double-tracked and powered by an overhead catenary of 500 V maximum. The track was standard gauge.

By 1913, Meralco had completed nine of the 12 lines, still called the i – tranvia by commuters. Swift under another franchise granted in 1906, was also operating a 9.8-km extension line from Paco to Fort McKinley and Pasig. The operator, the Manila Suburban Railway, later merged in 1919 to form the Manila Electric Company. The extension line was one of the most profitable in the Meralco system.

The Manila electric i – tranvia was indeed a complete system serving the city by the end of the first decade of the 20th century. As the road network improved, Meralco introduced electric and gasoline – powered bus services in the 1930s. The company also promoted the use of electric appliances such as radios and refrigerators. The i – tranvia continued running but stopped expanding.

During World War II, service deteriorated due to poor maintenance and the floods of 1943. At the war's end came the independence promised by the Americans in 1935, and the task of rebuilding the city and nation. Necessity and resourcefulness teamed up to put the i – tranvia out of business.

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