The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is open to privatizing the operation and maintenance (O&M) of Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) to improve its services.
“Those (privatization among others) are options that are open (to us),” said Arthur Tugade, DOTr secretary, at the sidelines of the launch of AirAsia Philippines headquarters in NAIA Terminal 3 yesterday.
A private firm’s takeover of the O&M of LRT-2 will hopefully smoothen the operations of the system similar to what happened to LRT-1 which is now operated by Light Rail Manila Corp.
Operations of LRT-2 came to a halt after a fire broke out at its Katipunan station on October 3, damaging equipment and parts of the tracks.
Partial operation resumed on Tuesday, October 8, with trains running up to Cubao in Quezon City from Recto in Manila. The line ferries around 220,000 passengers daily, according to the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), which currently operates the line.
The DOTr has issued 232 special permits that allow buses and modernized public utility jeepneys (PUJ) to run between Cubao and Santolan to help affected passengers.
The disruption of operations will not affect the ongoing construction of the P2.27-billion LRT 2 East extension, the DOTr said.
It added it is on track to complete the project by the fourth quarter of 2020.
The project is a four-kilometer (km.) extension of the existing 13.8-km. LRT- 2 system from Santolan to Masinag in Antipolo, Rizal.
The extension is expected to transport an additional 80,000 passengers daily from the current average daily ridership of 240,000, with two new stations, namely, Emerald Station in Marikina, and Masinag Station at the Masinag Junction in Antipolo City.
The LRT-2 System has 11 stations and traverses the east-west routes of Metro Manila.