The first magnetic tickets used on the LRT Line 1 in 2001 bore the face of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It made sense, as she was already in power by the time the train line transitioned from using fare tokens to magnetic tickets. However, there was a batch of tickets that never got released at that time: The unreleased Erap LRT cards.
Existence of the tickets
The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) apparently had a batch of magnetic tickets with former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s face. They were ready for use for the upcoming Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) in the LRT 1 system. “EDSA Dos” happened though, removing Erap from the presidency, thus rendering all of the Erap LRT magnetic tickets obsolete.
The existence of such cards were mentioned in a Philippine Star news article:
The Light Rail Transit Authority, on the other hand, has not been using cards with Estrada’s photo since he was ousted, LRTA Administrator Melquiades Robles earlier said.
Robles said the LRTA still has about two million Erap cards.“MRT to pull out Erap cards after reprimand?“, Sandy Araneta, Philippine Star, July 2005 article
Nobody knew about these Erap LRT cards in the 2000s. What the rail-riding public knew was the release of the red- and blue-themed magnetic tickets with PGMA’s image.
Erap resurfacing in 2013
These cards appeared around 2013 for reasons unknown. It is possible that the old cards got reused since they were still in relatively good condition. After all, the news article mentioned that they were never used during the Arroyo era. The train systems were going to shift to a new AFCS (powered by the beep™ smart card) by 2015 anyway, so might as well use whatever’s in stock. In any case, the riding public got a glimpse of these old cards, albeit with Erap’s face on it.
The Erap LRT Card Designs
The designs had quite a striking similarity with the Go for the Blue series. There is the silver train design, the yellow train design, as well as the three-stars-and-sun.
Some notable differences were the vertical placement of the trains on the ticket. They were placed much higher in this series, compared to the ones with Arroyo on it.
The three-stars-and-a-sun design was much more solid whereas the other one was a “sketch”.
Unlike the other magnetic ticket series, there was no designation which of these were the single journey or stored value tickets.
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was already the president in 2013. During his administration, new ticket designs ceased to bear any Philippine president’s face. This was also presumably the reason why a lot of the Erap LRT cards had erased portions (like the above images) where Erap’s face was supposed to be located. Some still had the original design without any alterations, as seen in the first image. I can just imagine the manual effort put into attempting to “blur” each of them… Production of these cards number in the millions!
The reverse side of the tickets plainly feature the colors of the Philippine flag (blue, white, red, plus yellow for the arrowhead) in striped fashion, without any other labelling:
The Erap LRT cards was in fact the first batch of magnetic tickets produced for the LRT Line 1. The series, however, never got officially released due to the change in administration in 2001. It was not until 2013 that the cards saw the light of day for use by the commuting public.
Have you gotten hold of other designs in this series? Share them below in the comments if you do!