By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), private operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) will start constructing its Cavite Extension this October to decongest Metro Manila traffic.
“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 told reporters yesterday.
The project can save passengers around three hours of travel time per day. “From Baclaran to Sucat, it will be only 15 minutes; Baclaran to Zapote, 20 minutes.”
“You don’t have to wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. 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.
The almost 500,000 daily LRT-1 passengers travelling between Baclaran and Monumento in Caloocan City stand to benefit from the extension, as it will only take just 35 minutes to travel over the 14-kilometer stretch.
“And they pay P30.00, which is comparable to a bus fare,” he pointed out.
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, with the Satellite Depot and New Station.
It will connect to the existing Baclaran Station and will have eight new Stations: Redemptorist, NAIA Avenue, Asia World; Ninoy Aquino; Dr Santos; Las Piñas; Zapote; and Niog.
Dr. Santos, Zapote, and Niog Stations shall provide transfers to other modes transportation.
Since assuming operations and maintenance of LRT-1 in September 2015, LRMC has already invested R10.5 billion towards the improvement of operational efficiencies and customer experience on LRT-1, Alfonso disclosed.
“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 year-end. The increased number of train cars has resulted in the 9.7 percent increase in average daily trips from 505 to 554 trips daily.
Its average daily ridership in the first quarter of this year was at 459,400, four percent better over the same period last year.