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HOUNDED BY RIGHT-OF-WAY ISSUES

LRT 1 Cavite extension inaugurated; no fare hike

MANILA, Philippines — There will be no fare increase just yet for commuters using the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 line, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said, adding that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) was still reviewing the private operator’s petition to increase fares by P5 to P7.

Tugade gave the assurance at the official inauguration of LRT 1’s Cavite extension two years after its groundbreaking.

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“You should consider this matter separately. (The) fare hike is not a necessary condition for the extension,” he said.

Multimillion deficit

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Actual construction for the 11.7-kilometer line started on April 15, said Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan.

Last year, the private operator, Light Rail Management Corp. (LRMC), sought the fare hike to, among other things, cover a multimillion deficit since it took over LRT 1’s operations in 2015. The hike would have covered construction costs, it added.

Right-of-way issues — a DOTr deliverable — from Las Piñas to Niog in Bacoor, Cavite, initially hounded the project’s progress despite it breaking ground in 2017.

Once the LRT 1 extension line is complete, passengers can expect their commute from Parañaque to Cavite to be cut down from one hour and 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Aside from the extension line, the LRMC is set to roll out 120 new light rail vehicles (40 trains) that will add to their existing 103, which could boost daily ridership to 800,000.

The trains, which cost P12 billion, are manufactured in Spain.

The project also includes a new expanded depot along Zapote Road in Las Piñas to house LRT 1’s expanded fleet of trains.

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This is the last of the big-ticket transport infrastructure projects that were shelved or delayed under the previous administration.

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TAGS: Arthur Tugade, DoTr, fare hikes, LRT 1 Cavite extension
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