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How Metro Manila train lines are seeking to improve facilities for persons with disability

MANILA, Philippines – An accessible transport system leads to inclusivity.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) sought to prove their commitment to this goal during a meeting on Thursday, June 5, when they presented various ways train lines under their supervision have addressed concerns of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The operators of Metro Manila’s three train lines – Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) for LRT-1, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) for LRT-2, and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) for MRT-3 – listed down how they addressed the findings of a 2023 Rappler in-depth report, “How the Metro Manila train system fails persons with disabilities.”

In the meeting were various transportation department officials, led by railways assistant secretary Jorjette Aquino; persons with disability groups like Kasali Tayo; inclusive transport group Move As One Coalition, other accessibility advocates; and Rappler community head Pia Ranada, author of the Rappler report.

The Rappler report showed how PWDs find it challenging to commute alone due to blocked ramps, locked public toilets, unusable ticket vending machines, and the lack of elevators in many stations, among others. As a result of the story, the issue of PWD access in train stations was raised during the DOTr’s Senate and House 2023 budget hearings and led to a dialogue in October between persons with disability groups, the DOTr, and contractors building new train lines.

“The goal of DOTr is to provide a comfortable, accessible, safe transport system…We make sure we are always compliant, and all members of the community are addressed,” Assistant Secretary for Railways Aquino said during the Thursday meeting.

Here is a summary of all identified facilities and services with gaps, and how each operating line is addressing these: 

Most LRT-2 stations and all MRT-3 stations were found to have inconsistent tactile flooring. This was a challenge raised by some visually impaired individuals who rely on tile patterns to navigate their way around. These were addressed by: 

Ramps were either missing, usually blocked by obstruction, or used as motorcycle parking barring access to users. Meanwhile, the