Ayala Corporation has been at the forefront of nation-building for almost two centuries. While its businesses have continuously evolved to address the ever-changing needs of Filipinos, the aspiration to contribute to the country’s development has remained at Ayala’s core for 189 years.
A growing economy requires efficient and reliable transportation. From participating in a consortium that modernized Manila’s first elevated commuter train, Ayala is now taking a bold move to transform land transportation in the Philippines—reminiscent of the bold step taken by Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz when he introduced Manila’s first tramcar service over a century ago.
Tranvia: Manila’s first public transportation
At a time when most Filipinos relied on horse-drawn carriages, a full-time partner of the Ayala enterprise took inspiration from the ubiquitous tranvías of Europe and established the first tramcar service in Manila.
Together with his partners, Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz organized a public utility called Compañía de los Tranvías de Filipinas, which received the concession to operate streetcar services in Manila.
The earliest tramcars were drawn by a single horse and could carry a maximum of 12 passengers. Zobel’s company immediately converted them to steam operations with a loan from Banco Español Filipino (precursor of Bank of the Philippine Islands).
With five city routes that crisscrossed the Pasig River, the tram became Manila’s major means of land transportation. In 1903, Compañía de los Tranvías de Filipinas was absorbed by the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company.
LRT-1: Manila’s first elevated commuter train
Thousands of Filipino commuters rely on trains for their daily commute. In 2014, Ayala Corporation took part in a consortium that assumed the operation of Metro Manila’s first elevated commuter train. This consortium transformed the then severely deteriorated Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) into a safe and efficient mode of public transportation, servicing an average of 500,000 passengers daily, pre-pandemic.
Since taking over LRT-1 operations and maintenance, the consortium has invested almost P12 Billion for the rehabilitation of the existing system and integration with the future Cavite Extension. It has rehabilitated the 40-year-old first-generation trains, resulting in an increase in train capacity to serve more passengers and significantly improving train reliability and passenger comfort.
To address the demand for an improved and integrated public transport in the country, the consortium invested P13.2 billion in its LRT-1 Cavite Extension project, which will create eight new stations along the 11.7-kilometer stretch from Baclaran to Bacoor. Once completed, LRT-1 is expected to service up to 800,000 new passengers per day.
The Philippines’ first electric vehicle ecosystem
Last year, Ayala rolled out the country’s first integrated electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem that seeks to support the growth and adoption of EVs in the country.
Ayala harnessed the strengths of its business units. Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc., which manufactures various components used to build EVs, ventured into manufacturing electronics and assembling power supply systems for EV chargers. Ayala Land rolled out 22 EV charging stations in malls, offices, and industrial parks last 2022. This 2023, Ayala Land will be expanding this service with the rollout of more fast charging stations in its properties.
Meanwhile, Ayala’s vehicle distribution arm AC Motors launched its very first EV through the introduction of the Kia EV6 in the Philippine market. Globe (through 917Ventures) and Ayala Corp have partnered with Taiwanese firm Gogoro to pilot the use of its fully electric motorcycles in the Philippines.
In a recent interview, AC Industrials President & CEO Art Tan said the Ayala group holds several capabilities that can enable the auto industry’s move towards electric vehicles—from renewable power generation, manufacturing and operation of chargers, to vehicle distribution and retail. “We are proud to be at the forefront of this major technological disruption here in the Philippines,” he added.
Land transportation has come a long way since the tranvias first plied Manila over a century ago. From modernizing the first elevated commuter train to paving the way for the adoption of electric vehicles, Ayala continues to find innovative ways to respond to the changing needs of the time, for the greater good.