MPIC, Ayala promise uninterrupted LRT1 operations
MANILA, Philippines – A consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and Ayala Corporation said there will be uninterrupted train operations during the transition should the government approve its Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) takeover on Saturday, September 5.
The Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) – which is 55% owned by MPIC, 35% by Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings, Corporation and 10% by Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Private Limited – earlier offered to takeover LRT1 operations and maintenance by September 5.
This is about a month ahead of the contractual turnover scheduled on October 2.
MPIC President Jose Maria Lim said on the sidelines of a Maybank conference on Tuesday, August 25, that his consortium is ready to takeover Metro Manila's first elevated mass transport rail system.
"We’re in a state of readiness to takeover so we might as well do it," Lim told reporters. "But our no. 1 consideration is to ensure that the takeover does not result in any safety lapses."
The transportation department and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), however, have not decided yet when to allow the winning consortium to assume operations and maintenance of LRT1.
"We are trying to work out with LRTA and DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) a date when we can takeover. We are waiting for a response from them," Lim said.
Light Rail Manila bagged the P64.9-billion ($1.39-billion) LRT1 Cavite extension project, after it offered a P9.35-billion ($200.66-million) premium payment to the government.
The consortium has already paid 20% of its premium offer during concession agreement signing in October last year. It is scheduled to pay the remaining balance over the life of the 32-year concession period.
As it awaits the government’s decision on when the consortium will takeover LRT1, MPIC's Lim said the group has already "hired a project team to ensure that the physical preparation for the takeover are all covered and properly planned."
Construction of the 12-kilometer LRT1 extension from Baclaran in Parañaque City to Bacoor in Cavite is seen to be completed and be commercially operational by May 2019.
The current LRT1 line runs daily from Roosevelt in Quezon City to Baclaran in Parañaque City.
Extending it up to Niog in Bacoor will increase LRT1’s design capacity to 800,000 passengers daily from 500,000.
The transportation department is also set to start the procurement of 120 new light rail vehicles for LRT1. These will be assembled into 4-car train sets, adding 30 train sets to the LRT1 fleet. – Rappler.com