Work on LRT-1 Cavite extension to start in Oct.

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THE average daily ridership at the Light Rail Transit Line 1 has gone up by an annual 3% to 459,400 passengers per day during the first quarter of 2018. — LIGHT RAIL MANILA CORP.

LIGHT RAIL Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) operator Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) said it expects to begin the construction of the first phase of the Cavite extension project by October.

“The first package, konti na lang ang natitira [very little is left]. So we can start on October. Kasi binigay na yung right of way nila eh [Because the right of way has already been given],” LRMC Operations Director Rodrigo P. Bulario told reporters on Monday.

Mr. Bulario said less than 5% of the right of way for the first phase needs to be obtained.

As part of its concession agreement with the Department of Transportation (DoTr), LRMC will extend LRT-1 from Baclaran station to Bacoor, Cavite. Eight stations will be built as part of the extension: Redemptorist, NAIA Avenue, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Piñas, Zapote and Niog.

The construction of the 11.7-kilometer railway is divided into three packages, the first one covering the first five stations from Redemptorist to Dr. Santos in Sucat.

LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Juan F. Alfonso told reporters in May that the construction of the Cavite extension will take four years.

At the same time, LRMC launched a crowdsourcing program to encourage information technology (IT) specialists to propose ways to improve the customer experience at the LRT-1.

In a press conference in Taguig, LRMC head of Information Management and Technology Randy S. Sac bared the details of the hacking marathon called “Hackatren,” organized in partnership with the Hub of Innovation for Inclusion (HiFi) of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB).

IT students and professionals are invited to form teams of three to four members, who will pitch a digital solution to make the commuting experience of passengers “more enjoyable and efficient.”

Mr. Sac said LRMC will work with the top three winners to put their proposals into reality, with the help of HiFi.

Aside from this, the three winning teams will also win a cash prize of P100,000, P50,000 and P25,000 each.

Mr. Sac noted the goal of the initiative is to find out what passengers experience during their commute and find solutions that they may adopt to improve the train system.

Interested participants may sign up for the competition until June 30, which is also the “Pre-Hack Day” of Hackatren. The top 15 teams will be invited to the actual Hackatren event on July 14 and 15, on which the winners will also be announced.

LRMC is the consortium of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.

Metro Pacific Investment Corp. is one of three Philippine subsidiaries of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group. — Denise A. Valdez