The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) resolved to finally award the P65-billion Light Rail Transit Line-1 Cavite Extension (Cavex) project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium.
“The BAC met this morning and resolved to recommend the award of the project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message on Monday morning.
In June, the lone bidder for the Cavex project or the South Extension Project of the DOTC offered to pay the government a concession premium of P9.35 billion for the right to build, operate, and manage the new rail line.
The Light Rail Manila Consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) on May 28 submitted the lone bid for the LRT-1 extension project.
The consortium is made up of Metro Pacific’s Light Rail Corp. with a 55-percent share; Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings, with 35 percent; and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Pte. Ltd., with 10 percent.
Already approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension project is the biggest infrastructure project under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
The Cavite or South Extension Project will extend the existing LRT Line 1, which covers 21 stations from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in Pasay City. The Cavite project will extend the service line by 11.7 kilometers, covering 10 more stations that will pass through the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas up to Bacoor, Cavite.
DOTC earlier clarified reports that the bid award for the Cavex project will result in a fare increase for LRT-1 passengers starting August 1 this year.
DOTC acknowledged the proposed P 11+1 fare increase for LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 riders, but stressed that it is completely separate from the Cavex project.
Under the proposed “11+1” formula, passengers will be charged P11 upon boarding the train and pay an additional P1 for every kilometer traveled.
The DOTC, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) have been seeking a fare increase since 2010, in order to improve their facilities and services to the public.
Their proposal has undergone two public consultations, although no date has been set for the implementation of the fare hike.
In December last year, the DOTC, LRTA, and MRTC proposed to rationalize the rail fare system of Metro Manila by adopting the “users’ pay” principle, whereby commuters will be charged based on the distance they travel instead of the number of stations they would pass, in a format similar to that of other public transport modes such as jeepneys and buses.
The DOTC and the two light rail operators did not explain, however, how the kilometer-based fare would be calculated and applied to the commuter trains, as all three lines will presumably continue to have fixed stations.
The fare increase is projected to provide an additional P2.06 billion in revenues to the LRTA and MRTC. These will be deducted from the subsidy that government provides for the operation of the LRT Line 1 and 2, and the MRT Line 3. The added revenues can also be used to enhance services, improve facilities, and provide better maintenance works.