LRTA says modernization will outweigh fare hikes
MANILA - Several projects are underway in line with the modernization of the Light Railway Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit systems in Metro Manila.
First and most urgent is the purchase of 48 additional coaches that will cost around P3.8 billion.
Additional coaches will increase passenger load of trains and decrease the waiting time at the stations which is currently at 6-7 minutes.
The international standard is 2-3 minutes waiting time.
Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera admitted that modernizing the railway systems in the metropolis might lead to an increase in fares.
However, he said a small fare increase will be outweighed by better convenience and efficiency that will be experienced by commuters.
The other LRT-MRT projects in the pipeline are:
1) Closing the loop (P6 billion budget) - target date of completion in the 1st-2nd quarter of 2015
"Closing the Loop" involves constructing an additional station in between LRT's Roosevelt station and MRT Line 3's North Avenue/Trinoma station in order to connect the two lines. Passengers will be able to transfer from one line to another without leaving the LRT/MRT complex.
2) Automatic Fare Collection System (P1.72 billion budget) - target date of completion in the 1st quarter of 2015
The contactless AFCS (automatic fare collection system) will integrate the ticketing system between the LRT and the MRT. Passengers will no longer have to spend a lot of time lining up just to buy tickets, which can be bought from other retail outlets such as grocery stores.
A new type of ticket will also be used. Instead of the magnetized ones currently being used, the more durable "contactless" cards will be made available. Just like cellphone cards, these train tickets are also "loadable," as they will be using a technology similar to the Octopus card system in Hong Kong.
3) Cavite LRT Extension (P60 billion budget) - target date of completion in 2015 with first 4 stations operational and fully operational by 2016
Eight new stations will be constructed after LRT's Line 1-Baclaran station, enabling the train system to go all the way to Bacoor, Cavite. From Roxas Boulevard, it will also go through the airport area, making it more convenient for travellers to use the LRT to go to NAIA. The coaches will also have provisions for baggage and luggage.
4) LRT Line 2 East Extension Project (P10 billion budget) - target date of completion in the 1st-2nd quarter of 2015
This involves the design and construction of a 4.19-kilometer extension from the existing Santolan Station to Masinag Junction (intersection of Marcos Highway and Sumulong Highway).
Two stations will be built at Emerald Drive, Cainta, Rizal (in front of Robinson's Place Metro East), and Masinag Junction, Antipolo City. This project will provide rapid and reliable mode of transit to the east of Manila and to various strategic commercial, industrial and educational districts in Metro Manila.