The Future of Metro-Manila’s Railway Network

Commuting has always been a daily part in a Filipino’s everyday routine, and with it, comes the never-ending complaints and frustrations about the state of public transportation in Metro Manila.

In 2017, a study called “Unlocking Cities,” done by global firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) placed the Philippines’ capital region as the 3rd worst in traffic in Southeast Asia, with an average of 66 minutes stuck in traffic daily. Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), meanwhile, revealed last year that the worsening traffic in Metro Manila costs P3.5 billion in lost opportunities per day.

Things are quite looking up though, as efforts to alleviate traffic congestion in Metro Manila are currently being planned and implemented — from new bus rapid transit lines to new railways and extensions to existing ones.

A forum user that goes by the name OctaviusIII uploaded a render of a map showing the network of existing, underway, and planned railways and BRT lines in Metro Manila to provide a glimpse on how Manila’s future railway network will look like. Aside from LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3, and PNR, the map includes:

01 The LRT-1 Extension, which started its construction in the middle of 2018. The 11.7-kilometer Cavite extension, with its eight new stations, will link with the existing system immediately south of the Baclaran Station, and run all the way to Niog, Cavite. Target date for its completion is in 2021.

02 The LRT-2 East Extension, which will reduce travel time from Recto to Masinag to 40 minutes compared to the usual travel of up to three hours in the same route by bus or jeepneys. The 4.0-kilometer extension of the existing LRT-2 System is set to be operational in the first quarter of 2019.

03 The LRT-4, which hopes to link densely populated areas in Taytay, Rizal, and the Ortigas Business District. The proposed 20-kilometer project used to be part of the Public Private Partnership program under the Aquino administration.

04 The MRT-5, or the Metro Manila Subway, which will be the country’s first subway. The about 30-kilometer underground railroad would run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport across 14 stations — with the possible extension of one to two more stations being planned by the Department of Transportation. The target completion for its first three stations is in May 2022.

05 The LRT-6, which involves the construction of a 19-kilometer railway from Niyog in Bacoor to Dasmariñas City in Cavite province. It’s planned to start its construction in 2016 and be operational in 2021, but the prequalification process for the project was delayed in 2016.

06 The MRT-7, which is a 22-kilometer rail transit system with 14 stations connecting North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan. It serve commuters who ply the heavily congested Commonwealth Avenue area for work and school on a daily basis and help decongest traffic in Caloocan and NLEX. Construction is already underway, and its completion is expected by 2019.

07 The PNR Northrail, which would extend the line in Manila northward to Bulacan province. The P225-billion railway project would lessen the travel time to Clark International Airport from Metro Manila to 55 minutes. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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