THE GOVERNMENT inaugurated on Thursday the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) East Extension, which is due to start operations next week.

“The promise of a better commuting experience will now become a reality, as President Rodrigo R. Duterte, together with Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Reynaldo I. Berroya, lead the formal inauguration of the LRT-2 East Extension Project today, July 1,” the Transportation department said in a statement.

The LRT-2 East Extension will start commercial operations on July 5.

The project added four kilometers to the 13.8-kilometer LRT-2 light rail line, connecting Recto in Manila to Antipolo, Rizal via two new stations: Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo.

“Trains on the line running from Recto Station in Manila to the Antipolo Station have also been increased to eight from the previous five that ran from Recto Station to the Santolan Station,” the department said.

“Once operational, the LRT-2 East Extension Project will reduce travel time from Claro M. Recto in Manila to Masinag in Antipolo from three hours via bus or jeepney to just 30 to 40 minutes,” it added.

The LRT-2 East Extension increased the rail line’s average daily capacity to 320,000 passengers from 240,000 previously.

The extension project is expected to help reduce congestion along Marcos Highway, especially in Marikina, Pasig and Antipolo.

“Actual and full-blast construction of the two new stations (Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo) started on Feb. 20, 2017 (contract amount: P1.1 billion), while the electromechanical systems contract (contract amount: P3.4 billion) was awarded on Dec. 14, 2018,” the department said. — Arjay L. Balinbin