Int’l agency urges PH to consider mass transit solutions

By , on September 18, 2014

MRT3 Shaw Boulevard Station (Photo courtesy of UrbanRail)
MRT3 Shaw Boulevard Station (Photo courtesy of UrbanRail)

MANILA — To address the worsening congestion in key areas in Metro Manila, an official from the Japan International Cooperation Agency is urging the government to consider mass transit solutions.

The proposal includes a $ 700-million subway system on Edsa that is also aimed at addressing traffic problems in the area.

Shuzuo Iwata, chair of Japan’s Almec Corp. and a Jica project manager told reporters during the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s Transport Forum 2014 that the existing railway systems in Metro Manila is not enough to address the traffic problems.

He said that the government might need to consider other projects to complement the existing railway systems and efficiently address country’s the growing demand on mass transportation.

“The MRT 3 is small in capacity from the very beginning compared to demand,” Iwata said. “It was a wrong choice of system. If we assume that it cannot be removed, you can only expand capacity [there] by 20 percent.”

Given this, the agency is now proposing a P2.6 – trillion project, termed as a “dream plan” to address congestion in Metro Manila by 2030.

“It’s really unfortunate that people [using MRT 3] have to wait so long…. The waiting time is much longer than the traveling time,” he said.

As to the project’s feasibility in terms of cost, Iwata said the amount their proposing may not be that expensive.

Though final costs have yet to be made, he estimated that in five years, they could build a subway system with a cost between $600 million to $700 million.

“It’s not expensive for the Philippine economy. The government and private sector can finance that,” said Iwata.