It’s never easy taking train rides in the Philippines no matter what time of the day, that’s a fact. For one, you’ll most likely find yourself packed like a sardine due to the heavy volume of commuters one way or another. Secondly, waiting for the next train to arrive can be dreading if you plan to take a ride during rush hours.
True, trains were made to make our lives more convenient, supposedly the best option to help us arrive at our destinations on time. But sadly, commuters had to endure years of disservice from our own government. Mercifully, after what feels like forever, the Light Rail Manila Corp (LRMC) has decided to procure new train cars that will be used for the LRT-1 extension project.
Last Tuesday, January 26, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) officially unveiled the first batch of train cars which comprises 4 out of the 120 train cars ordered from Spain and Mexico. And once the arrival of trains in the country gets completed, the LRT Line 1 will have a total of 192 trains running, bringing the current number of train sets from 48 to 34.
Apparently, the 120 new train cars will form 30 four-car train sets that could serve up to 750,000 passengers daily! That’s a big feat for the LRT-1 — considering it can only accommodate about 500,000 passengers on a daily basis right now. But the best part? It’s has allotted space for wheelchairs which means it’s more PWD-friendly.
The said project is a partnership between agencies such as the DOTr, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Light Rail Transit Authority, the Light Rail Manila Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Spanish rolling stock manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocariles (CAF), and CMX Consortium.
Japan Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa and JICA Senior Representative Kiyo Kawabuchi said they hope the Japan-financed project would provide a more efficient transport system to the country.
“We are confident that this new addition to the existing fleet of coaches shall further improve the service of LRT line 1 with the involvement of private sector, LRMC, for the operations and maintenance. And therefore, provide the commuting public with a more efficient, faster, reliable, and safer mass transport system to improve their daily commuting experience and quality of life,” Kawabuchi said in a speech during the unveiling of the new trains cars.
Now more than 50% complete, the LRT-1 extension project — which stretches from Baclaran to Cavite — will be partially operational by December and will open at least one or two stations by then.
Well, it’s definitely long overdue. And as much as we’d like to say it’s better than nothing, we deserve better, right?