MANILA, Philippines – Slowly, a mass transit light-rail line is finally coming to the country’s most populous province: Cavite.
Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) operator Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) targets to provide by 2021 a 25-minute train ride for commuters coming from Bacoor, Cavite to the central business district (CBD) of Makati City.
“What we will offer is from Bacoor to Gil Puyat. We will offer a shuttle ride straight to Makati business district. In 25 minutes’ time, you should be there,” LRMC president and chief executive officer Rogelio Singson said on the sidelines of the LRT1 Cavite Extension groundbreaking ceremony in Parañaque City on Thursday, May 4.
It usually takes commuters from Bacoor 1.5 hours to arrive at the Makati CBD. (READ: LRTA fails to turn over 100 operational coaches)
After over two years since the signing of the project, LRMC on Thursday finally broke ground for the pre-construction works on the LRT1 Cavite Extension. This will connect the existing line with 20 passenger stations to an 11.7-kilometer alignment with 8 passenger stations to be located in Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Cavite.
New stations will be named Aseana, MIA, Asiaworld, Ninoy Aquino, and Dr Santos in Parañaque City; Las Piñas and Zapote in Las Piñas City; and Niog station in Bacoor, Cavite. (READ: Engineers racing to fix LRT1)
With a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour (km/h) and a commercial speed of 60 km/h, Singson is optimistic that the rail extension project will significantly ease the commute in Metro Manila.
“The Cavite extension will serve an additional 300,000 commuters and will significantly reduce travel time from Bacoor, Cavite to Manila from about two hours to about 40 minutes,” Singson said.
LRMC took over the operations, maintenance, and extension of LRT1 in September 2015, after bagging the P64.9-billion LRT1 Cavite Extension deal in September 2014.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told LRMC to expedite the construction of the LRT1 Cavite Extension project and asked if they can finish it by 2020 instead of 2021.
Singson said the 2020 timeline is “doable” should the local government units (LGUs) cooperate in terms of right-of-way acquisition.
“We can do it but we need the LGUs’ help. Construction-wise, it’s a matter of right-of-way issue,” he explained.
LRMC is a consortium of Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), and the Macquarie group.
The rail operator in February 2017 launched the renovated Doroteo Jose station in Sta Cruz, Manila. Doroteo Jose is the interconnecting station of LRT1 and LRT Line 2, serving an average of 27,000 passengers daily. (LOOK: The newly-renovated LRT1 Doroteo Jose Station)
According to Singson, the next phase of the rehabilitation project covers United Nations, Gil Puyat, Abad Santos, Pedro Gil, and R Papa, which will be accomplished in June.
By end-2017, LRMC said it will deliver a “wholly refurbished train line, featuring stations that have been renovated and equipped with structural upgrades and new facilities.”
LRMC is also doing a rail replacement project for the train line’s 33-year-old tracks. – Rappler.com