Government committed to pursuing more public transport projects: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr

2023 July 19

4th-GENERATION TRAINS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (center) leads the inauguration of the first batch of the brand-new 4th-generation train set for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) – Line 1 in Baclaran, Pasay City on Wednesday (July 19, 2023). The inauguration came after a series of safety checks, inspections, trial runs with minimum kilometers, and acceptance tests.

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday pledged to push for more public transportation projects to further improve mobility and interconnectivity in the country.

Marcos made the commitment as he led the inauguration of the 4th-generation (Gen-4) light rail vehicles (LRVs) for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) – Line 1 in Baclaran, Pasay City.

“It truly makes me proud to witness the steady realization of our vision of a more developed Philippines coming to a fruition through our new LRVs, which will be used in the existing LRT-1 system and on the LRT-1 extension to Cavite,” Marcos said in a keynote speech delivered at the LRT-1 Depot.

“I assure you that this administration will continue to pursue more public transportation projects that will improve our people’s mobility and interconnectivity, as well as to enhance the quality of each Filipino.”

Starting July 20, the LRT-1 will deploy one Gen-4 train set for its main line to serve commuters daily, according to a statement from the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC).

A series of safety checks, inspections, trial runs with minimum kilometers, and acceptance tests were conducted after the first batch of the Gen-4 trains arrived in the country in January 2021.

Procured as part of the LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project, the Gen-4 train set measures 106 meters in length and 2.59 meters in width and can accommodate about 1,388 passengers per trip, increasing daily ridership to 300,000 passengers from the existing 280,000 a day in its first year of full operations. 

Marcos lauded the efforts of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), and LRMC for working together to provide Filipino commuters with “safe, reliable and efficient” transportation services.

He also thanked the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Mitsubishi Corp., and the Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles for their partnership with the Philippine government to enhance mass transit systems in the metro rail project.

“With this commitment that you have shown to enhance the capacity of the LRT-1 by increasing the number of LRVs, we’ll be able to now aid in easing traffic congestion, as well as mitigating air pollution caused by vehicles plying the roads of Metro Manila,” Marcos said.

“Equipped with advanced information system and a new signaling system, I am confident that the LRVs will not only improve the overall passenger experience but also will be championing safety.”

The President said he is looking forward to the full operation of the LRT-1 Cavite Extension by 2027 as it is expected to accommodate up to 800,000 passengers a day and shorten the travel time between Baclaran, Pasay City and Bacoor, Cavite to 25 minutes from 1 hour and 10 minutes.

“Having said that, I ask the public for your continued patience during the construction of the LRT-1 Cavite Extension,” he said. “And I also ask our commuters to practice courtesy and basic etiquette when using public conveyances, such as keeping trains clean, as well as following the rules so that our transport systems can run in an efficient, effective, and orderly manner.”

Enhance passenger travel

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the new LRVs’ advanced features would enhance passenger travel experience in the country’s first elevated rail system.

“These new LRVs, purchased at more than PHP12.8 billion, are equipped with an advanced passenger information system, a new signaling system and ice-cold air-conditioning – leading to a vastly enhanced passenger experience,” Bautista said at the inaugural first train ride with Marcos. 

The upgraded train’s brakes and signaling system will improve operational efficiency by reducing passengers’ waiting time between trains at stations to less than three minutes, a boost to the soon LRT-1 Cavite Extension, Bautista added. 

“The evolution of LRT-1 is not finished. It will continue to upscale in step with advancements in technology,” he said.

With one Gen-4 train set serving commuters starting July 20 and additional one train set per week until December, the complete deployment of all the train sets on the main line is expected by fourth quarter of 2024 when the LRT-1 Cavite Extension begins operations.

Funded by a JICA Official Development Assistance loan, the LRT-1 South (Cavite) Extension Project (L1CE Project) is composed of the procurement of 120 fourth generation LRVs, expansion of the existing Baclaran depot in Pasay City, and construction of the new Zapote satellite depot.

Manufactured by Mitsubishi Corporation, the new Rolling Stock of 30 trainsets at four LRVs per set features a Human-Machine Interface that will allow the train operator to easily trouble-shoot and identify possible cause of any operational glitch.

Under a Public-Private Partnership between the government and LRMC, the LRT-1 Cavite Extension also involves the extension of the existing line by another 11.7 kilometers, adding eight new stations with a provision for two more future station plus facilities’ works.

Aimed to spur commercial growth in the various rail stations, the extended railway will traverse the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas in Metro Manila, and Bacoor City in Cavite at a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour, reducing travel time to just 25 minutes from the current 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)