MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday unveiled the first batch of new train cars that will be used for the LRT-1 extension to Cavite.
Four new train cars arrived, which the operator of the LRT-1 said make up the first batch of the 120 new cars ordered from Spain and Mexico.
The 120 new train cars will form 30 four-car train sets and can accommodate up to 750,000 passengers daily. Currently, LRT-1 serves around 500,000 commuters daily.
The new trains have more allotment areas for wheelchairs, a new propulsion system, and better cooling fans that will lengthen the service life of the cooling system.
Light Rail Manila Corp (LRMC), which operates the LRT-1, said the Cavite extension project is now more than 50 percent complete. It will extend the existing LRT Line 1 from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade meanwhile asked LRMC for partial opening of at least one or two stations by December.
"Yang Cavite extension, yung hanggang Redemptorist [station]...gusto ko may partial operability December this year,” Tugade said.
(For the Cavite extension, I hope we can have partial operability until Redemptorist station by December this year.)
Once the delivery of the new trains is complete, there will be 192 train cars or 48 train sets from the current 34 train sets.
LRMC president Juan Alfonso said there will be an overall increase in LRT-1's fleet but will be partially offset by the gradual retirement of the railways’ oldest train sets.
The additional train sets are expected to reduce the waiting time for commuters from around 4 minutes to less than 3 minutes by 2023.
The project was funded through a loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA.
Tugade meanwhile said he was not keen on granting the fare hike petition of LRMC, which he said will add to the burden of commuters during the pandemic.
LRMC filed a fare hike petition in March last year, citing the need to maintain the quality of its service and recoup some P8 billion in improvement costs incurred since 2014.
Alfonso said the fare hike is part of the concession agreement with the government which allows for the request of an automatic fare adjustment every two years.
"I think the agreements with the DOTr are clear. We’ll talk to them about how we can best resolve those issues," Alfonso said.
- Report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News