The Manila LRT-1 (“Metrorail”) is the oldest mass rapid transit system in the Philippines, constructed in the early 1980s under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since its opening, it sold fare tokens to its passengers that are used to gain entry into the concourses.

LRTA Logo on blue background
The Light Rail Transit Authority Logo on one of the ticket designs.

In the early 2000s, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo initiated the line’s transition from the LRT tokens to an Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS), releasing the following new magnetic cards for use by the public. All of the magnetic cards carry the logo of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the former president’s image. This followed after the opening of the MRT 3 with its own set of magnetic tickets.

Single Journey Tickets

There were three varieties of the single-journey tickets (SJT). They came in silver, yellow, and green, the colors of which the train sketch design was in, with a generally red background. They were issued regardless of distance, although from what I remember, the silver ticket was given to those paying only PHP 2.00 for travel on the last three stations.


“Go for the Blue!”: Stored Value Ticket Campaign

The stored value tickets (SVT) also came in three variants: Two regular-priced tickets, and a discounted variant for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD).

The dominantly-blue SVT was sold at PHP 120, while the blue-and-yellow SVT was sold at a more affordable price of PHP 80.

The SVT came at a time when the LRTA embarked on a “Go for the Blue!” campaign to encourage train riders to use the stored value tickets more to lessen queuing at ticket booths as well as to provide more value to frequent train customers.

The dominantly-blue stored value ticket, priced at PHP 120.
A slightly cheaper stored value ticket at PHP 60, with a blue-and-yellow design.

The third one sells at a discounted price, and carries a dominantly orange design with three stars and a sun:

Stored value ticket for senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD), with a 20% discount.

Interesting Tidbits

“Go for the Blue!” in the news

The LRTA embarked on an information campaign to get more people to use the prepaid tickets to ease the queuing at the LRT 1 stations. On Inquirer Libre‘s first edition, they took a full-page ad showing the benefits of buying the stored value ticket.

Go for the Blue Campaign by the Light Rail Transit Authority
“Go for the Blue!” Campaign on tabloid Inquirer Libre’s first print, 19 November 2001.

Reverse Ticket Design

All of the cards above have a reverse-side design showing a map of the western side of Metro Manila, with an arrow and the words “LINE 1” pointing to the general direction of LRT-1 traversing the cities of Pasay, Manila, and Caloocan.

If you observe carefully, there’s a couple of flaws in the map that introduced some inaccuracies. For one, the line itself was not exactly along Taft and Rizal Avenues. Another is that it seemed to imply that Line 1 is entirely under the City of Manila — you can clearly make out badly-edited, erased labels of “Pasay City” and “City of Manila” on the blue area (which is actually Manila Bay in the map). The locations of the stations are not accurate either to their actual locations.

Reverse side of the LRT 1’s magnetic tickets.

These tickets were used by the public at a time when magnetic tickets were still a new concept, that is why the tickets bore instructions on how to use them upon entering and exiting the station turnstiles.

The images are hosted on my Flickr Album: Manila LRT-1 Gen 1 Tickets

Creative Commons License


Were you able to experience this first generation of tickets as you rode the LRT-1 nearly two decades ago? Share your experiences in the comments below!