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How To Commute Through MRT: An Ultimate Guide to Manila’s MRT Stations

How To Commute Through MRT: An Ultimate Guide to Manila’s MRT Stations

MRT is one of the three rail systems that make up the rail infrastructure of Metro Manila.

It started its operations in December 1990 and added the last three train stations (Ayala, Magallanes, Taft Avenue) back in July 2000.

In this handy guide for commuters, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about MRT stations and all the nearby landmarks/establishments connected to each of them.

Related: How to Commute Through LRT: An Ultimate Guide to Manila’s LRT 1 & 2 Stations

 

Table of Contents

 

MRT vs. LRT: What’s the Difference?

Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT) and Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT) are both rail systems in Metro Manila. The only differences between the two are the companies running them and their routes.

The MRT is operated by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) which is a private organization composed of seven Filipino—owned companies which are: Allante Realty and Development Inc, Anglo-Philippine Holdings Corporation, Ayala Land Inc, DBH Inc, Fil-Estate Management Inc, Greenfield Development Corporation of Unilab, and Fil-Estate Management Inc.

The LRT is currently owned by the Philippine government. It’s operated by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) which is associated with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Light Rail Manila Corporation.

On the other hand, MRT stations are located along EDSA while LRT1 & LRT2 stations are located along Taft Avenue to Rizal Avenue and Ramon Magsaysay Blvd to Aurora Blvd.

 

MRT Fares, Schedules, and Other Things You Should Know

mrt stations in metro manila philippines

1. Fares

The price of a single journey MRT ticket ranges from PHP 13 – PHP 281. It depends on your destination and the location of the station you’ll be coming from.

2. Tickets and Cards

These are the four types of tickets available for MRT passengers:

  • Single Journey Ticket – It’s a single ride ticket and only valid on the day it was purchased.
  • Single Journey Discount Ticket – It’s also a single ride ticket which comes with a 20% discount for Seniors and PWDs. 
  • Stored Value Ticket – It’s a multiple ride ticket which is valid for 3 months from the date of purchase. It costs PHP 100 and comes with the last ride bonus.
  • Stored Value Ticket Discount – It’s also a multiple ride ticket but it comes with a 20% discount for Seniors and PWDs. 

You can also purchase a Beep card so you don’t have to wait in line while trying to purchase single journey tickets.

The Beep card is a stored-value smart card that is valid for 4 years from the date of purchase. You don’t have to fill out any forms. You just have to pay for the initial load and then you can start using the Beep card.

There is no minimum load amount but it has a PHP 10,000 maximum load limit.

mrt station beep card
A woman uses a Beep card to exit the loading/unloading area of an MRT station.

You can use this card for other modes of transportation like LRT1, LRT2, BGC Bus, Citylink Coach Services, and most P2P buses in the city. The card can be loaded through beep loading kiosks in all MRT and LRT stations, as well as bus stops and convenience stores. It can also be loaded online through the Coins.ph app.

Beep Concessionary Cards are also available. There are three types of concessionary cards: Senior Citizen Card, Student Card, and Persons with Disability (PWD) Card. These cards entitle holders to their corresponding discount.

3. Schedule

mrt station schedule
Source: DOTr MRT-3 Official Facebook Page.

On weekdays, the first train trip leaves the North Avenue station at 4:37 AM while the last train trip leaves at 9:30 PM2. If you’re coming from the other side, keep in mind that the first train trip leaves the Taft Avenue station at 5:17 AM while the last train trip leaves at 10:10 PM.

15 trains run during weekdays.

On weekends, the first train trip leaves the North Avenue station at 4:59 AM while the last train trip leaves at 9:10 PM. On the other hand, the first train trip leaves the Taft Avenue station at 5:51 AM while the last train trip leaves at 10:01 PM.

12 trains run during weekends.

4. Routes

For South-bound passengers, the trip starts at the North Avenue station located in Quezon City and follows this route: other Quezon City stations (Quezon Avenue, Kamuning, Cubao & Santolan-Annapolis), Pasig City station (Ortigas), Mandaluyong stations (Shaw Blvd.  & Boni Avenue), Makati City stations (Guadalupe, Buendia, Ayala & Magallanes), and the last stop is at a Pasay City station (Taft Avenue).

For North-bound passengers, the train route is simply the reverse of the one previously mentioned, starting at the Taft Avenue station located in Pasay City and ending at the final Quezon City station (North Avenue).

5. Train Specifications

MRT trains are designed to carry 23,000 passengers per hour and per direction daily. The trains are also designed to run at a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour. Without any delays, it can take as little as 30 minutes to go from the first to the last MRT station.

6. Safety Guidelines and Prohibitions

a. Items Allowed Inside MRT Trains

After announcing that liquids (including bottled drinks, perfumes, and other cosmetic/skincare products) are not permitted inside MRT trains, the management released a list of liquid products allowed which are the following:

  • Drinking water for children (drinking water for babies or small children)
  • Baby formula and breast milk in bottles (if the passenger is traveling with a baby or small child)
  • Medications (both prescription and over-the-counter medications)
  • Beverage for PWDs (includes water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels)
  • Medical and cosmetics (only if used to augment the body and for cosmetic and medical reasons like a saline solution, mastectomy products, prosthetics breasts, shells, or bras which contain gels)
  • Life-support and life-sustaining liquids (blood products, bone marrow, and transplant organs)
 

The Complete List of MRT Stations (With Landmarks and Nearby Establishments)

Update: The Unified Grand Central Station (North Triangle Common Station) is scheduled to have its soft opening in March 20223. This station will connect the following rail lines: LRT1, MRT3, and the upcoming MRT7 (which will be partially functional by the end of 2022) and Metro Manila subway (targeted to be fully functional by 2025). The Unified Grand Central Station will be located between SM North EDSA and Trinoma (Quezon City).

1. North Avenue

mrt station 1

Location: Diliman, Quezon City.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • MRTC Office
  • Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife
  • Quezon City Science High School
  • Quezon Memorial Circle
  • SM City North Edsa
  • TriNoma
  • Veterans Memorial Medical Center

2. Quezon Avenue

mrt station 2

Location: Diliman, Quezon City.

Nearby Establishments& Landmarks:

  • ABS-CBN Network
  • Court of Tax Appeals
  • Eton Centris
  • Fairview
  • Lung Center of the Philippines
  • Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
  • Office of the Ombudsman
  • PAG-ASA Complex
  • Philippine Science High School
  • Quezon Memorial Circle
  • University of the Philippines-Diliman
  • UP-Ayala Land Technohub 

3. GMA – Kamuning

mrt station 3

Location: Diliman, Quezon City.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Department of Public Works and Highways
  • GMA Network
  • Land Transportation Office
  • National Kidney and Transplant Institute
  • Philippine Heart Center
  • Philippine Statistics Authority
  • Quezon Memorial Circle

4. Araneta Center – Cubao

mrt station 4

Location: Cubao, Quezon City.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

5. Santolan – Annapolis

mrt station 5

Location: Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Armed Forces of the Philippines
  • Camp Aguinaldo
  • Camp Crame
  • Department of National Defense
  • Greenhills Shopping Center
  • Philippine National Police

6. Ortigas

mrt station 6

Location: Wack-Wack Greenhills, Mandaluyong.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Asian Development Bank
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Department of Transportation and Communications
  • EDSA Shrine
  • Francis Square
  • Holiday Inn
  • Meralco Theater
  • Philippine Stock Exchange
  • Robinson’s Galleria
  • SM Megamall
  • SM Podium
  • The Medical City

7. Shaw Boulevard

mrt station 7

Location: Wack-Wack Greenhills, Mandaluyong.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Capitol Commons
  • Department of Education
  • Lourdes School
  • Paul College Pasig
  • Pavillion Mall
  • PhilSports Arena
  • San Miguel Corporation
  • Shangri-La Plaza
  • Starmall Shaw
  • The University of Asia and the Pacific
  • Wack Wack Golf and Country Club
  • Ynares Sports Arena

8. Boni

mrt station 8

Location: Barangka Ilaya, Mandaluyong.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • GA Twin Towers
  • Paragon Plaza
  • Rizal Technological University
  • Robinson’s Cybergate
  • Robinson’s Forum
  • SM Light Residences
  • TV5 Media Center
  • Victor Potenciano Medical Center

9. Guadalupe

mrt station 9

Location: Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Guadalupe Church
  • Makati City Hall
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary
  • PowerPlant Mall
  • Rockwell Center
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
  • San Carlos Seminary
  • University of Makati

10. Buendia

mrt station 10

Location: Urdaneta, Makati.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Century City Mall
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • Jupiter Street
  • Makati Avenue
  • Metrobank and DBP Headquarters
  • MMDA Offices

11. Ayala

mrt station 11

Location: San Lorenzo, Makati.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • American Cemetery
  • Asian Institute of Management
  • Ayala Museum
  • Ayala Triangle Gardens
  • Bonifacio Global City
  • BPI Headquarters
  • China Bank Headquarters
  • Citibank Headquarters
  • Glorietta
  • Greenbelt
  • Makati Medical Center
  • Makati Shangri-La Hotel
  • Manila Golf Club
  • Manila Peninsula
  • RCBC Headquarters
  • SM Makati
  • The Mind Museum
  • The Philippine Stock Exchange 

12. Magallanes

mrt station 12

Location: Magallanes, Makati.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Alphaland Makati
  • Asia Pacific College
  • Assumption College
  • Colegio San Agustin-Makati
  • Don Bosco Technical Institute
  • San Lorenzo Place
  • San Lorenzo Village
  • St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish Church

13. Taft Avenue

mrt station 13

Location: San Rafael, Pasay.

Nearby Establishments & Landmarks:

  • Manila Tytana College
  • Ninoy Aquino International Airport
  • San Juan de Dios Hospital
  • SM Mall of Asia
  • SMX Convention Center
 

Tips and Warnings

1. Don’t ride the MRT during rush hour

If it’s entirely possible, avoid the rush hour when riding the MRT. The lines are unbelievably long during rush hour and the trains are always jam-packed.

It’s best to wake up early and take the trips before 6 AM or let the morning rush pass and take the trips after 9:30 AM.

The rush hour begins again at 4 PM but it’s still manageable. The worst kind of rush happens around 5:30 PM so make sure you either ride the MRT from 4 PM to 5 PM or wait it out and just come back at around 9 PM.

2. Location is important

If it’s possible, ride the MRT on stations that are not as crowded as the others.

The most crowded ones are Cubao and Ayala stations. Some of the stations with fewer passengers are GMA-Kamuning, Magallanes, and Ortigas. You can take the MRT from these stations instead of Quezon Avenue, Taft Avenue, and Shaw Blvd, respectively.

Once you’re on the train, find a good location where you’re not far from the door and you have something to hold on to.

3. Bring a handy pouch when commuting

It can be frustrating to rummage through your bag in order to find a spare change or a Beep card while you’re about to board the train.

To solve this problem, buy a small pouch where your keys, spare change, Beep card, and ID can fit. This way, it will be easier to find the usual stuff that you need when commuting.

4. Wear comfortable clothes

Make sure to wear a breezy shirt made with breathable material so you’ll feel cool even if you’re cramped inside a train with hundreds of people. 

5. Be polite and considerate

In a crowded place and a stressful setting, being kind can go a long way.

Follow the rules and don’t try to cut the line or push people around. Make sure to let the passengers get off the train first before making your way inside. Always cooperate if it’s for the benefit of passengers like you.

6. Buy and use a Beep card

Using a Beep card during a commute is a great way to save time. You won’t have to fall in line to buy tickets so you can head straight to the security check. It can also be used for other modes of transportation like LRT1, LRT2, P2P Buses, BGC Buses, and a lot more.

7. Try to memorize all the MRT stations

If you’ll be commuting daily, it’s very helpful if you memorize all the MRT stations. You can’t always check MRT signs since you’ll be struggling to stay in your chosen spot.

Memorizing the stations will give you a lot of time to prepare before getting off. You can slowly move closer to the door if you’re just a couple of stations away from your destination.

8. Be calm and enjoy the moment no matter how chaotic it can be

Riding the MRT can be such a hassle but once you find your tiny spot in that jam-packed train, you can try and be happy in your own little world.

You can listen to music while the trains go from one station to the next. It’s an amazing way to start your day right or end it on a good note.

9. Secure your belongings

Incidents of theft at MRT trains happen almost every day. The best way to avoid being a victim of theft is to always secure your belongings.

Hold on to your bag and make sure that you can feel it in case someone tries to do something suspicious with it. There are different types of pouches that you can hide inside your body and where you can secure your valuables like money, IDs, credit cards, and ATM cards.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it more affordable, more convenient, and faster to ride the MRT regularly than the other modes of transportation?

Riding the MRT is undoubtedly more affordable than riding buses and even jeeps.

A trip from Taft Avenue to North Avenue only costs Php 28. It’s also a lot faster since it doesn’t get affected by the heavy traffic along EDSA.

When it comes to convenience, it’s hard to say that MRT is more convenient to ride than buses, jeeps, and others. During rush hour, the trains are really crowded and you’ll have to wait in line for a long time just to buy tickets and go through the security check.

2. Do MRT trains leave on time?

MRT trains usually leave on time. However, over 10 trains get delayed every day according to daily reports from the MRT management. Some of the reasons for delays are the lack of available trains and malfunctioning trains.

3. Are small kids allowed to ride the MRT?

Yes, the first two trains are exclusively for senior citizens, PWDs, women, and parents traveling with their small children. Parents are advised to keep an eye on their small children to prevent accidents and unfortunate incidents.

4. How safe is this mode of transportation?

MRT is generally safe for passengers. However, you must still be cautious and alert since there might be thieves around.

5. Is it PWD-friendly?

Yes, there are special coaches for PWDs, as well as women, children, and the elderly. Most of the time, guards are very helpful when it comes to assisting PWDs.

6. What will be the route and stations of the new MRT line 7?

MRT 7, which is expected to be partially operational by the fourth quarter of 2022, is estimated to provide commuters with a relatively faster 35-minute travel time between Quezon City (North Avenue) and Bulacan (San Jose Del Monte)4. It is expected that MRT 7 will have the following stations:

  • Quezon Avenue Joint Station
  • Quezon Memorial Circle
  • University Avenue
  • Tandang Sora
  • Don Antonio
  • Batasan
  • Manggahan
  • Doña Carmen
  • Regalado
  • Mindanao Avenue
  • Quirino, Sacred Heart
  • Tala
  • San Jose del Monte
 

References

  1. MRT3 Fare Guide. Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://mrt3.com/index.php/menu-fare-tickets.html
  2. San Juan, A. (2021). Here are the train schedules as NCR reverts to ECQ status. Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://mb.com.ph/2021/08/05/here-are-the-train-schedules-as-ncr-reverts-to-ecq-status/
  3. DOTr eyes closure of EDSA-North Avenue to facilitate Grand Central Station completion. (2021). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/metro/813851/dotr-eyes-closure-of-edsa-north-avenue-to-facilitate-grand-central-station-completion/story/
  4. Parrocha, A. (2021). MRT-7 partially operational by Q4 of 2022: PRRD. Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1163000

Written by FilipiKnow

in Juander How, Vehicles and Transportation

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