Metro Manila subway, North-South railway set to be linked physically
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) plans to physically link two of its largest railway projects, the Metro Manila subway and the North South Commuter Railway (NSCR), allowing seamless travel for commuters.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said both lines, to be fully completed past the term of President Duterte, would be “interoperable” once operations begin.
“That means when you ride the subway train at North Avenue station, you can remain in the same train and get of at Calamba, [Laguna],” Batan said during a forum organized by the Management Association of the Philippines.
The P357-billion Metro Manila subway, mainly funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), is a 36-kilometer project from Valenzuela City to Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
The 148-km NSCR, on the other hand, is backed by loans also from Jica as well as the Asian Development Bank. It is comprised of three major railway projects in Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila and Calamba.
During the forum, Batan said the NSCR would be progressively completed from 2023 and with the final Calamba segment to be finished by 2025.
He said the subway would be fully completed by 2027. However, Transpo Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran later clarified the 2025 target remained.She said the 2027 deadline referred to a two-year defects liability period—or “when the contract of our contractors will, technically speaking, end.”
Railway investments account for a major slice of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Counting sources such as official development assistance loans, private sector and government spending, the entire railway budget stood at P1.7 trillion of the total P7.74-trillion infrastructure budget.
By 2022, the DOTr is targeting to increase the country’s railway footprint to 1,209 km from 77 km in 2016.
Despite the increase, Batan said this was just the initial pipeline of projects because Manila was still trailing cities such as Jakarta, Seoul and Tokyo in terms of railway density.
“Given the catch up that we need to do, we actually need four to five more similarly-sized pipelines,” he said without elaborating on future projects. INQ
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