SMC: MRT-7 to finish by end of 2022 but with lower passenger volume

A train set for the MRT-7 project is being unloaded as San Miguel Corp. says the railway is on track for completion. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) remains on track to open the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 by the end of 2022 despite lower passenger projections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement the company might not reach the estimated target of servicing 300,000 daily passengers once the railway line from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan is operational.

“Given the need for social distancing and limited capacity enforced in public transportation amid the constant threat of COVID-19, we don’t expect to achieve these numbers right away,” said Ang in a statement.

“Rest assured, the trains will serve their purpose of bringing more people from Quezon City to Bulacan faster and safer post-pandemic,” he added.

Once complete, the MRT-7 will reduce travel time from Quezon City to Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

“Pre-pandemic and even at present, the daily commute along this route already takes hours with limited transportation options,” SMC said.

The MRT-7 will have 14 stations: Quezon North Avenue Joint Station, Quezon Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Dona Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala, and San Jose del Monte.

It will also connect to the Department of Transportation’s common station project in Quezon City, which will allow passengers to easily transfer to the MRT-3, the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and the eventual Metro Manila subway project.

Ang also said MRT-7 coaches from South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem were state-of-the-art and “quite spacious.”

“People who have not been able to visit South Korea or travel around using its trains will be in for a great experience, whether they are commuting to work or school,” Ang said.

“As we expect the economy to continue to open more especially in the coming years, MRT-7 will be ready in time to serve the public as our economy rebounds and resumes growth,” he added.

SMC announced on Monday (Oct. 25) that it recently mounted two more brand new Hyundai Rotem train sets on the tracks of the MRT-7.

The company expects to receive and install six of the total 36 sets before the year ends. The entire MRT system will have a total of 108 cars.