Light Rail Manila Corporation holds the 32-year concession to operate and maintain the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), an ISO-certified
train system in Metro Manila that consists of 20 stations and 19.7 kilometers of elevated rails. LRT-1 services an average of 500,000 passengers daily, before the pandemic, providing a low-carbon model for efficiently moving masses of people from one city to another since 1985.
Awarded by the Department of Transportation (DOTR) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) in July 2014, the concession covers the original 18 passenger stations from Baclaran to Monumento plus the North Line Extension (NLE), which covers the two stations in Balintawak and Roosevelt along EDSA. The concession also granted LRMC the right to develop and construct the 11.7-kilometer LRT-1 Cavite Extension, which is expected to add eight more stations from the current endpoint in Baclaran all the way southward to Bacoor.
LRMC continues to modernize the country’s mass rapid transport system by replacing its 40-year-old first-generation trains with fourth-generation light rail vehicles and by introducing innovations and technologies that improve transit speed, passenger waiting time, and rider health and safety.
Financial and Operational Highlights
- Revenues declined 10% to P1.1 billion because of capacity reductions from the implementation of physical distancing protocols, and overall lower demand
- Average daily ridership decreased 33% to 124,329 compared with 186,021 a year earlier owing to the cap of 30% for on overall ridership capacity versus pre-pandemic volumes.
- Core Net Loss for the year amounted to P571 million
Expansion and Others
- LRMC has received a total of 16 Gen-4 train sets to date, each with a total capacity of around 1,400 passengers. The new trains will need to undergo complete safety checks, inspections, and required test runs with minimum kilometers and acceptance tests before deployment for use in mid-2022
- Construction activities for the LRT-1 Cavite Extension project are currently in various stages of development and continue to progress even amidst quarantine measures. Since the start of civil works in September 2019, the project completion rate has now reached 68% for Phase 1 of the extension
How LRMC Creates and Delivers Value
Creating value by managing safe rail transit experience
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LRMC creates value by providing millions of Filipinos with a highly reliable, safe, comfortable, secure, and efficient transport system via the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1). As the economy gradually reopened in 2021, LRT-1 serviced 44.4 million people, moving this large number of commuters safely, quickly, and economically as LRMC strived to revive pre-pandemic levels of productivity amid a new normal in transport protocols.
Since it took over the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 in 2015, LRMC has been optimizing capitals to meet customer needs for more comfortable and faster rides. These include operating capital sourced from cash flow from operations, among other sources; fully operational network of elevated rails and light rail vehicles (LRV); automated systems for train management; human capital specializing in train operations and maintenance; energy and water to run its trains and railway stations; and productive relations with government regulators and local governments where the rails pass through.
To ensure continuous rail operations and management in the new normal, LRMC worked with P1.9 billion operating capital obtained from cash flow from operations, equity from shareholders, and loans for working capital.
LRT-1 operated at severely limited capacity in compliance with DOTR guidelines during the pandemic, running only 17 trains during peak hours and 13 trains during the off-peak period. Ridership capacity was still limited to 20-30% for most of 2021, improving to 70% by November. As a result, LRMC gained only P1.1 billion in revenue in 2021, which is more or less comparable to 2020, but quite far from the P3.2 billion average before the pandemic. Fares contributed P870 million or 72.5% of total revenue, while P86 million came from advertising, leasing, and interconnection business.
With the slowdown brought about by mobility restrictions, LRMC took this opportunity to increase LRT-1’s overall operational efficiency to 84 minutes of cycle time from 88 minutes in 2020. This led to reduced passenger waiting time at stations from 4.54 minutes in 2020 to 4.38 minutes in 2021 for off-peak hours and from 3.81 to 3.50 for peak hours. Average travel time per passenger was reduced by four minutes. These improvements were achieved through comprehensive maintenance work on LRT-1’s 20.7 kilometers of rail line, proper management of 20 fully operating train stations, and prompt LRV repairs and rail replacements.
LRMC operates 120 LRV, of which 77 were made available to ferry passengers in 2021, while 32 were on stand-by in case of mechanical or other troubles, and 11 were placed under corrective maintenance. Together, the 109 functioning LRV make up 29 trains. LRMC will need 19 more trains composed of 64 LRV to meet the increased demand in 2022, which is anticipated to be equivalent to 40-50% of pre-pandemic ridership capacity.
LRMC made good use of new technologies to further make its systems and processes more seamless and efficient. LRT-1 runs under automated systems of train traffic management to ensure reliability and predictability of arrivals based on a timetable, safe movement of trains, and passenger comfort. GoalRail®metro and GoalStaff® from Goal Systems are used for duty rostering and building the train timetable, while the Automated Train Operations Metric System (ATOMS) is used for real-time collection of data that track train performance level, physical condition, and preventive maintenance schedules.
LRMC also deployed the ikotMNL app in 2019 as a mobile tool that provides customers with real-time information on train arrival time and crowd situation at each station. To improve security and crowd management, LRMC upgraded its closed-circuit television (CCTV) to a high-definition security camera. In partnership with AF Payments, LRMC launched a contactless fare collection system for stress-free purchasing of train tickets.
All these improvements have led to a more remarkable customer experience. LRMC received a Customer Satisfaction Survey score of 4.48 out of 5 in 2021. Behind this improved customer service is LRMC’s driven and competent workforce of 1,144 employees, which include mostly train operators and maintenance staff. LRMC also availed the services of indirect employees, consisting of 745 security personnel and 242 janitors and drivers.
LRMC provided upskilling training, leadership and management skills training, and e-learning platforms as part of its workforce empowerment. In 2021, LRMC dedicated an average of 29 training hours to employees’ competency building. As a result, all direct employees received leadership training and 29 tellers were promoted to train operators.
While working towards these developments, LRMC built and sustained its relationships with customers, government agencies, and communities. It continued to work with the DOTR and LRTA for the continuation of the Public-Private Partnership agreement and its license to operate LRT-1, ensuring that key performance indicators were met and reported, and that tariffs and funding for additional trains were coordinated. LRMC also complied with regulations of various local government units, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and Philippine National Police.
LRMC ensured that resources were efficiently used to minimize LRT-1’s environmental impact. In 2021, LRMC’s operations consumed 32,189 mWh nonrenewable energy and 6,335 mWh renewable energy. LRMC seeks to reduce its non-renewable energy consumption as it targets net zero by 2030.
Expanding the LRT-1 network
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Towards its vision of becoming the commuters’ choice in public transportation, LRMC invests in expansion projects that seek to widen the reach of its modern mass rail transit system to more urban centers especially high growth areas beyond Metro Manila.
To address the demand for high-speed urban public transport in the country, LRMC invested P64.9 billion in its LRT-1 Cavite Extension project, which will create eight new stations along the 11.7-kilometer stretch from Baclaran to Bacoor. This new segment will be connected at the current LRT-1 endpoint in Baclaran, increasing the total span of the train line to 32.4 kilometers. Once completed, LRT-1 is expected to service up to 800,000 new passengers per day, providing commuters from Cavite, Parañaque, and Las Piñas with a more convenient and faster mode of travel. From Pasay City to Cavite, travel time will be cut down from two hours to just 25 minutes. The LRT-1 Cavite Extension will be fully operational by the second quarter of 2027.
LRMC employed 938 workers and consulted with eight industry experts for this expansion project. Putting a premium on its human resources, LRMC implemented safety practices that ensured zero fatalities due to work-related injuries during construction. LRMC also required 214 employees to undergo training on risk management and disaster management, among others.
LRMC worked with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to pursue this public-private partnership venture. It complied with applicable regulations of the local government units and government agencies. LRMC also built and strengthened relations with relevant light rail manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, as well as local communities impacted by the LRT-1’s infrastructure, to ensure the project’s smooth