THE government expects the first train set for the P64.9-billion Cavite extension of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 to arrive from Spain by July.

The train set, equivalent to four light rail vehicles of the LRT-1, will be delivered by Mitsubishi Corp. and its technical partner Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Oliveros-Libiran said in a mobile-phone message last week.

She added that 91% of the right of way for the first phase of the extension project had been acquired.

The LRT-1 Cavite Extension project is a public-private partnership (PPP) venture that the National Economic and Development Authority board first approved in November 2013.

It will add an 11.7-kilometer segment from Baclaran, Pasay City to Bacoor, Cavite to the existing 18.1-kilometer train line. The new stretch will have eight stations.

The government of former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III awarded Light Rail Manila Corp. the P65-billion public-private partnership (PPP) project in September 2014. The company was allowed to take over the operations and maintenance of the LRT-1 system in September 2015.

The first phase of the extension consists of a seven-kilometer stretch with five stations between Redemptorist Church in Baclaran and Dr. Santos Avenue in Parañaque City.

Ms. Libiran said the first phase will start operating by the fourth quarter of 2021. The remaining stations between Las Piñas and Niog in Bacoor, Cavite will be completed a year later.

The Transportation department expects travel time from Baclaran to Bacoor to be cut to 25 minutes from up to two hours now once LRT-1’s Cavite extension opens to the public. The train line’s daily ridership is expected to increase to 800,000 passengers from 500,000.

Light Rail Manila, which operates the LRT-1, is a joint venture of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.

The company holds a 32-year PPP contract to operate LRT-1 and build its extension to Cavite.

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