One good round deserves another, so the bromide goes. In this case, the Light Rail Transit 1, which has proven to be a reliable transporter of people, merits an extension.
In fact, the Light Rail Manila Corporation, the private operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1, has been reiterating the urgency of the Cavite Extension as the solution for decongesting Metro Manila traffic and improving the quality of life of residents in the three cities south of Manila.
“Land travel time from Baclaran to Bacoor is currently at one and a half hours a day, during rush hour on the average; we can bring that down to only 30 minutes,” LRMC President Juan F. Alfonso exclaimed. “From Baclaran to Sucat, it will be only 15 minutes; Baclaran to Zapote, 20 minutes.”
This project, he said, can save passengers around three hours of travel time per day, which means being able to sleep longer and having more time to spend with the family.
“You don’t have to wake up at 3 am or 4 am to be in Manila for work because you know the train will be there every three and a half minutes or so and that travel time is very predictable, is traffic-free,” he added.
Right now, he said the almost 500,000 daily LRT-1 passengers travelling between Baclaran and Monumento in Caloocan City know what it is like not to be caught in traffic, being home early and sleeping enough because it takes only 35 minutes to traverse this 14-kilometer stretch.
“And they pay P30.00, which is comparable to a bus fare. We are still investing billions of pesos to further improve our service.”
LRMC is a joint venture company of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation’s Metro Pacific Light Rail Corporation (MPLRC), Ayala Corporation’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation (AC Infra), and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd. (MIHPL).
The Cavite Extension, totaling 11.7km in length, shall consist of elevated guideways throughout the majority of the alignment. The only at grade guideway section shall be located at Zapote, consisting of the Satellite Depot and New Station.
The Cavite Extension shall connect to the existing Baclaran Station. It will have eight new Stations namely, Redemptorist, NAIA Avenue, Asia World; Ninoy Aquino; Dr Santos; Las Pinas; Zapote; and Niog. Dr Santos, Zapote, and Niog Stations shall provide transfers to other modes transportation.
Alfonso also reported that since assuming operations and maintenance of LRT-1 in September 2015, LRMC has already invested P7.5 billion towards the improvement of operational efficiencies and customer experience on LRT-1. “We have significantly increased the number of trains and trips, reduced queueing time and travel time, as well as improved the safety, security, and cleanliness of the stations.”
LRT-1 fleet was at 109 cars as of March 2018, which is expected to increase to 121 cars by yearend. The increased number of train cars has resulted in the 9.7 percent increase in average daily trips from 505 to 554 trips daily. Average daily ridership in Q1 was at 459,400 or four percent better over the same period last year.
LRMC has claimed to have achieved a rare feat in the field of service utilities: Zero failure notice on train availability, punctuality, and reliability during the period.