MANILA — Over 14 million people rode the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) last August, its highest ridership in a single month to date, according to its operator Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC).
Passenger volume was recorded at 14.6 million passengers which has higher by 8 percent to 13.45 million passengers for the same month last year due to improvements which resulted to increased number of trains and reduced waiting time of passengers.
To date, the train rehabilitation program of the LRMC has resulted to the increase in the number of car trains by 112 from 77 in 2015 and 530 daily trips in 2017 from 478 trips per day in 2016.
“The ridership growth is a manifestation of stronger customer preference for LRT-1 over other modes of transportation. It is a significant achievement for our employees who have focused on increasing the number of trains and trips, reducing queueing time and travel time, as well as improving the safety, security and cleanliness of the stations,” according to LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Juan Alfonso.
The company is asking for a fare increase of PHP 5 to recover the investments it has made to improve the railway operations and to finance the construction of the extension of the LRT-1 from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite.
The fare increase will encourage banks to provide lending for the LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project according to the LRMC.
“A PHP 5 increase in LRT-1 fare will assure the construction of its extension to Sucat, Las Piñas and Bacoor, allowing at least 300,000 of residents each day to get to and from home in just minutes from Baclaran without traffic,” Alfonso said in an earlier statement.
According to the LRMC, its concession agreement with the government stipulates a 5 percent increase on LRT fares every two years and the extension of the railway line from Baclaran to Bacoor.
Current fares on the LRT-1 is PHP 15, PHP 20 and PHP 30 depending on distance travelled. No fare hike has been implemented since September 2015.
The fare hike petition is currently pending before the Department of Transportation.
The LRMC is eyeing to start the construction of the first phase of the LRT-1 Extension project which covers the Redemptorist, Manila International Airport (MIA), Asiaworld, Ninoy Aquino, and Dr. A. Santos stations on October.
The LRT-1 extension is projected to reduce travel time from Baclaran to Bacoor by 30 minutes from the current one and a half hours during rush hours.
It will consist of eight new stations namely Redemptorist, NAIA Avenue, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Pinas, Zapote, and Niog, which are expected to serve around 700,000 to 800,000 passengers once it is completed by 2021.
LRMC is a consortium put up by Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Ayala Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings and took over the operations and management of LRT-1 in September 2015. Aerol John Pateña/PNA-northboundasia.com