Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara said the construction of the country’s first subway line and other key mass transit projects under the government’s centerpiece program “Build, Build, Build” should help restore public confidence in the local rail transit system, which has been under fire due to its poor and unreliable service.
“The Metro Manila Subway, along with the MRT-7, offers hope to railway commuters who have been putting up with long lines, passenger congestion, defective coaches and generally poor maintenance in existing railway lines, particularly the MRT-3,” Angara said.
“Panahon na para ibalik natin ang tiwala ng mga tao sa ating rail transport system at gawin itong mas kapakipakinabang para sa mamamayan,” Angara added.
The Department of Transportation held the groundbreaking for the P350-billion underground railway system project on February 27 in Valenzuela as part of the solution to solve the perennial traffic problem in Metro Manila. The 36-kilometer subway line, which is expected to be completed in 2025, is envisioned to serve 370,000 passengers per day and connect Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City within 30 minutes.
Angara said that a reliable and efficient railway system was vital to the nation’s economic progress, as he noted a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency showing that Mega Manila’s traffic jam was costing the economy a staggering P5.4 billion in lost opportunities a day.
“A well-functioning transport system helps grease the wheels of the economy and improve the lives of millions of people who rely on trains to get to work,” he said. Besides, he added, an efficient and reliable mass transport system, like commuter rails, offers a good alternative to private vehicles.
To help ease the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the country, Angara said the government must encourage people to take mass transit rather than use their own cars.
However, the senator said the MRT-3, which traverses the traffic-infested EDSA, was not a good alternative mode of transportation because of all the problems confronting the 19-year-old rail line.
“We cannot expect everyone to rely on our existing rail transport system given the technical glitches, long lines and other problems hounding the MRT-3,” Angara said.
The solution, he added, is for the government to improve the public transport system to make it a viable option.
The subway will be connected to the LRT 1 and MRT 3 and 7 via a common station along EDSA.
The ongoing MRT-7 project, which would connect North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan province, is also part of the “Build, Build, Build” program. The project is scheduled for completion by 2020.