LRT1 extension project dependent on fare hike
The extension of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) to Sucat, Parañaque City, is expected to be completed by 2021 should construction begin next year.
For this to happen, however, the LRT needs to get its fare hike petition approved by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
In a statement, Juan Alfonso, chair of the Light Rail Management Corp. (LRMC) which is in charge of operating and maintaining LRT1, said the company might not be able to secure the loans needed for the P65-billion, 11.7-kilometer extension project without a fare hike.
Under the concession agreement it signed with the government, the LRMC was tasked to extend the train line from Baclaran station to Bacoor, Cavite province.
But while the Sucat extension might be completed early, Alfonso said the project could be finished only with a fare adjustment.
In March, the LRMC asked the DOTr to let it raise LRT1 fares by P5 to P7.
If approved, passengers could pay as much as P35 for end-to-end rides.
Options for hike
The increase may be implemented in two ways. One option would be for the government to give a P100-million quarterly subsidy to LRMC under a sovereign guarantee.
The hike may also be directly passed on to passengers who currently pay a minimum fare of P15 and a maximum of P30.
Alfonso maintained that the second option was better to ensure that only passengers would be affected by the increase.
With the completion of the line extension project, travel from Baclaran to Las Piñas would take only 20 minutes, and 30 minutes up to Bacoor, Cavite.
Earlier, Alfonso said the start of the extension project was also dependent on the resolution of right of way issues before May 2019.
“The extension of LRT1 to Sucat could start serving riders by the end of 2021 if work on site starts by February 2019, and the right of way is free and clear by May 2019,” he said.—WITH REPORTS FROM IANNA AGUS AND FATE COLOBONG
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