MANILA, Philippines – By April 2019, the country’s first common station linking Metro Manila’s 3 major mass rail transit systems is targeted to start commercial operations, after putting an end to the 7-year disagreement between the public and private sectors.
Rarely seen together, the country’s top businessmen – San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) Ramon Ang, SM Prime Holdings Incorporated’s (SMPHI) Hans Sy, Ayala Corporation’s Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation’s (MPIC) Manuel Pangilinan – came and signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the final location of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-Light Rail Transit (LRT) Common Station project.
“After the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) Board in February, and start of construction in December this year, you can expect a common station built in between SM North EDSA and TriNoma Mall [in Quezon City] in April 2019,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said on the sidelines of the MOA signing in Makati City on Wednesday, January 18.
The MOA signed by the businessmen as well as the executives of the transportation department and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) on January 18 contains the design parameters for the P2.8-billion Common Station deal.
The location is agreed to be in between SM North North EDSA and Ayala’s TriNoma mall.
SM and Ayala’s TriNoma will have naming rights for the Common Station project, which will be discussed and finalized soon, Tugade said. (READ: MRT-LRT common station to be done in 2.5 years – DOTr)
Cost increased from 2009
This new project cost is higher than the original price for the 2009 location, which was set at P2.6 billion at 7,200 square meters (sqms); and the 2014 location pegged at P1.4 billion at 2,500 sqms.
“The current location is with 13,700 sqms, so it is a bigger station with almost double the capacity of the original 2009 design at only P200 million more,” Tugade said.
Spanning over 13,700 sqm, the MRT-LRT Common Station will have 3 essential components:
- Area A where the platform and concourse for LRT Line 1 (LRT1) and MRT Line 3 (MRT3) are located;
- Area B where the two concourses connecting Areas A and C are located; as well as
- Area C where the platform for MRT Line 7 (MRT7) is located
Tugade said this agreement will pave the way for the filing of a joint motion to the Supreme Court to lift the temporary restraining order.
It was in August 2014 when SMPHI obtained a Supreme Court order stopping the transportation department and the LRTA from transferring the location of the common station to TriNoma mall.
The basis of the order was a September 28, 2009 memorandum of agreement between SMPHI and LRTA, agreeing that the common station should be beside SM North EDSA, after the mall developer paid the government P200 million for the naming rights to the proposed station.
In 2014, the government insisted that building the proposed common station near TriNoma mall would result in “P1 billion in savings to the government” and benefit passengers as the Quezon City government is establishing the North Triangle area as a new business district.
The design of the common station has been bundled with the P64.9-billion LRT1 Cavite Extension public-private partnership (PPP) deal, which was bagged by Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC), led by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Ayala Corporation.
“We look forward to working with SM for the design. The combination will benefit the traveling public in tremendous ways,” Ayala’s Zobel de Ayala said during the MOA signing.
For Sy, “this is a milestone wherein” SMPHI “would like to show support.”
This was echoed by Pangilinan who said the “signing is actually a sentinel event. It signifies cooperation agreement.”
The MRT7’s 25-year concession agreement, bagged by San Miguel Corporation (SMC)-backed Universal LRT Corporation (ULC) in 2008, also called for the common station to be located near SM North EDSA.
“The problem with the common station started in 2008. Under a strong leadership of President Duterte, all of a sudden, there is no problem anymore,” Ang said in the event.
When Tugade assumed office, he promised to get all stakeholders to reach an agreement on the common station within his first 100 days. – Rappler.com