LRT-1 eyeing more improvements

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    THE consortium running the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 is targeting more improvements to the elevated commuter train system this year, hoping to cut waiting time and extending its service routes to cover more commuters.

    Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) president Juan Alfonso said LRT-1 will have a new signaling system in place by November 2020, where passengers will be assured of the arrival of trains on schedule and cutting the waiting time to only 2.5 minutes.

    In 2021, LRMC said some 700,000 to 800,000 passengers are expected to be serviced by LRT Line 1 with extension trips going all the way to Cavite.

    Construction works underway for eight additional stations, which will be in Redemptorist, NAIA Ave., Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Pinas, Zapote and Niog in Cavite.

    The extended route is hoped to reduce travel time to Cavite from one and a half hours to only 30 minutes.

    The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and Department of Transportation (DoTr) turned over the operation and management of the elevated train system to the LRMC in 2015 under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino Administration.

    The LRMC has implemented measures which has improved the train’s services. The number of trains has increased from 77 to 112, daily trips rose from 478 to 554, headway waiting time decreased to 3.5 minutes from the usual six to eight minutes, and operating hours are longer.

    The company has allotted P8.7 billion for the rehabilitation and improvement of LRT-1’s services, including the provision well-maintained trains, enhancement of stations and repair of damaged rail tracks.

    The train system’s better services have greatly satisfied commuters taking the LRT-1 route from Munoz in Quezon City to Baclaran in Pasay City. The system has 20 stations covering its 20.7-kilometer route and has a regular daily passenger count reaching 500,000.

    Jinkee Evangelista, a student of Dela Salle University in Taft Ave., said it is now more manageable to ride the train than to drive, unlike before where she preferred to bring her car since it was nearly impossible to take the LRT.

    Reynaldo Guevarra, who rides the LRT daily on his way to work in UN Avenue, also expressed his appreciation. He said that he used to come in late to the office since he had to let three to four passenger-filled trains pass before he could ride one. But that has changed and he is now able to ride the first train that passes by.