The Unified Grand Central Station is one of the most anticipated rail infrastructures for 2022. Let’s take a quick look at some of the station’s details through this article.
Golden Age of Infrastructure
In the past years, Filipinos relied heavily on road transportation to accommodate an estimated 55% of shipments and 98% of passengers. One significant reason for this is the insufficient rail infrastructure in the country. According to the Philippines’ National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), traffic congestion which is most notable within and around Metro Manila proceeded in an estimated economic loss of around US$24.8 billion per year last 2016.
Evidently, it somewhat suffices to say that this level of railway stipulation in relation to population is far relatively low than in comparison with other Asian megacities. Hence, the country’s Department of Transportation (DOTr) is expanding its operations to generate more initiatives and projects in order to fulfill the current government’s vision of a “Golden Age of Infrastructure” embedded in its Build! Build! Build! (BBB) program. This program, which sought to increase infrastructure spending to 5% of GDP, appeared to offer a more invigorated perspective on rails in specific hence, it appears likely to be sustained in the coming years. As reported, an outright amount of P8.4 trillion is allocated to develop the said program. By the end of 2022, nearly 1,200 kilometers of railways are expected to be built and functional.
Read also: Right-of-Way Law and the Build! Build! Build! Program in the Philippines
During the late former President Barack Obama’s administration, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) approved the central station development in 2013 under former President Benigno Aquino III. However, this encountered project delays when neighboring malls raised concerns about its site location. The project was supposed to begin construction in 2014 in a spot near the SM North EDSA shopping center. Because the station was nearby, SM Prime Holdings paid the government P200 million for the naming rights. However, the Aquino administration broke the contract by deciding to build the common station next to the Ayala-owned TriNoma Mall, spurring the company to sue the government for breach of contract, postponing the project by three years.
Current Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade mediated a deal between the stakeholders, which are SM Prime Holdings, Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and San Miguel Corporation, to eventually withdraw their legal objections, allowing the project construction to proceed. Secretary Tugade led the signing of a memorandum of agreement last January 18, 2017, that laid the groundwork for the development of a common station connecting LRT1, MRT 3, and MRT 7 which will be called the Unified Grand Central Station.
The Unified Grand Central Station is built between the two previously mentioned malls, SM North EDSA and Trinoma mall, which guarantees equality and fair treatment as well as fair opportunities for both significant attractions. The common rail station was supposed to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, but a lot of disruption was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns and community quarantines compelled finalization to be moved to December 2022. According to the DOTr, work is done around the clock to ensure that it is completed on time, or even earlier if feasible.
The Unified Grand Central Station
Undeniably, this railway project radiates hope and light for Filipino commuters. Keep reading this article if you would want more updates on the design of the Unified Grand Central Station!
1. Measurement and capacity
Located at the intersection of EDSA and North Avenue in Quezon City, the Unified Grand Central Station, will have a 13,700 square meter concourse area whereby passengers can transfer between different train lines such as the LRT-1, MRT-3, Metro Manila Subway Project, and MRT-7. The Unified Grand Central Station also highlights an intermodal transport integrated system that enables exiting passengers to seamlessly depart by bus, jeepney, or taxi. When completed, the Unified Grand Central Station is expected to cater to approximately 500,000 passengers per day.
2. Linkage between LRT-1, MRT-3, Metro Manila Subway Project, and MRT-7
Once completely finished, it is expected that connectivity into and out of Metro Manila from and to the southern area such as Cavite and northern area such as Bulacan will be more convenient and efficient for public transportation users. The LRT-1 and MRT-3 are currently operational, on the other hand, MRT-7, which runs from Quezon City to Bulacan, is scheduled to launch in December. The Metro Manila Subway, the Duterte administration’s final big rail project, is scheduled to open in 2025, running from Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex in Pasay City. By that time, the Taft-EDSA Station, which connects the MRT-3 and the LRT-1, and the Araneta Center link, which connects the LRT-2 and the MRT-3, as well as the various bus stations for outbound provincial travel, will be major transport gateways.
3. Areas A, B, and C
The project was divided into three areas, one with its own developer. The DOTr will build Area A, which will house a platform and concourse for the LRT-1 and MRT-3. Ayala-affiliated North Triangle Depot Commercial Corporation will build Area B, which will include two concourses linking Areas A and C. Area C, which will house the MRT-7 platform, will be constructed and sponsored by San Miguel Corporation. The cost of the common rail station was projected to be P2.8 billion in January 2017. When completed, it will be one of Southeast Asia’s largest rail stations. Per a news article released just March of this year, Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Secretary Tugade reported that the Station Building of Area A is now 100 percent connected to Area B (Atrium).
Department of Transportation (DOTr) stresses that more projects across the country will be fulfilled and efforts will be executed in the last 15 days of the Duterte administration to achieve astounding levels of connectivity and accessibility to make the lives of Filipinos more comfortable and pleasant.
Read also: Infrastructure Development Highlights of 2022
Poverty-stricken families, particularly children, women, the elderly, and people with disabilities, could not simply go to schools, markets, employment, and social services without access to secure and convenient public transportation. This perpetuates the huge discrepancy in economic growth between urban and rural areas. The program’s successful completion aims to help Filipino commuters, particularly within the Metro Manila, benefit from increased ease and comfort in local public transportation.
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Written by MC Sanchez