by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 03/23/2012 10:58 PM | Updated as of 03/24/2012 5:15 PM
MANILA, Philippines – Commuters welcome the government’s plan to extend the Light Rail Transit (LRT) from Baclaran to Cavite.
Aside from the relief for commuters, the new LRT project is also expected to ease traffic jams.
Many of the passengers of the LRT at the Baclaran station are either coming from or going to Cavite.
One of them is Alberto Exaltacion, who lives in Cavite but works as a family driver in Bulacan.
His daily commute takes him three hours.
“Jeep muna from Cavite to Baclaran, tapos Baclaran to Monumento. Bababa ako ng Monumento, sasakay naman ako ng Malanday, Bulacan. From Malanday, sasakay naman ako papuntang Meycauayan,” he said.
But things are looking up for Exaltacion as President Benigno Aquino III and the National Economic Development Authority have approved the LRT-Cavite Extension Project.
Currently, the LRT 1 runs from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in Manila.
Under the project, 8 new stations will be built, stretching from Pasay to Bacoor, Cavite.
Its estimated cost is P60 billion.
“Ang kalahati nito, uutangin natin ng murang-mura mula sa bansang Hapon, ito ay babayaran natin ng 40 taon. Ang kalahati naman ay sa private sector,” said Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas.
Bidding will begin next week.
Construction for the first half of the project will begin in 2014 and end in 2015.
Government will also purchase 150 new coaches.
The LRT extension is expected to ease traffic congestion in Cavite.
“Ang kabuuan ng population na nakapaligid dito ay humigit-kumulang mga 1.5 to 2 million people na ngayon ay nata-traffic sila sa mga bus, sa jeep,” said Roxas.
Exaltacion is excited about the project though he is concerned about the fare he will have to pay.
“Tutulong siguro basta huwag itataas ang pamasahe,” he said.
The Department of Transportation and Communications said it will make sure that fares remain affordable but admits this will still depend on the results of the bidding.
The LRT currently serves nearly 500,000 passengers a day.
Once the extension project is completed, their numbers are expected to swell by another 40,000. — ANC