DOTr: Subway route changed to better serve QC corridors
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday said its decision to add two stations in Quezon City for the P325-billion Metro Manila subway project was meant to accommodate more commuters from the capital’s inner corridors.
The move, however, did not sit well with some lawmakers who questioned why the department diverted the project away from Edsa by adding stations in Anonas and Katipunan in Quezon City.
During a hearing on Wednesday by the House committee on Metro Manila Development, Transport Undersecretary for Rails Timothy James Batan said that segment was originally envisioned to run from Mindanao Avenue, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue and up to Ortigas stations, much like the route of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.
But the change would instead bring the trains from Quezon Avenue to Anonas and Katipunan first before heading to Ortigas.
Taken together, the 30-km project would have 15 stations: Mindanao Avenue, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Katipunan, Ortigas North, Ortigas South, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City East, Cayetano Boulevard, FTI Taguig and Naia.
Batan said the modification was made based on a 2017 feasibility study that considered the expected improvements on the state of the MRT3.
He said the DOTr did not want to “oversupply” Edsa, the country’s busiest highway, by the time MRT 3 had already undergone a 43-month rehabilitation and with its servicing capacity increased with the deployment of 48 trains by October.
With the MRT’s riding capacity expected to grow from the current 300,000 to 900,000 per day, having the subway route also run along Edsa would no longer make sense, according to Batan.
Build where it’s needed
“True, the problem in Edsa is severe, (but we) are also taking into consideration those who come in from the inner corridors. We also don’t want to forget them,” he said.
Batan explained the realignment as he addressed queries from Quezon Rep. Winston Castelo, the House committee chair, who noted that the change would relieve the DOTr of expensive right-of-way issues.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice also agreed that the department should build the subway stations wherever there was a clear need.
Later in an Inquirer interview, Batan said the DOTr expected to have the groundbreaking in the December for the segments running through Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora and North Avenue.
The subway line is expected to be completed in 2020 as one of the key mass transport projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.