The government is finally pushing ahead with the long-stalled plan to build a common rail station in Metro Manila.
The grand station at the corner of Edsa and North Avenue in Quezon City will link Light Rail Transit Line 1, Metro Rail Transit Line 3, the planned MRT 7 and the Metro Manila Subway.
The common station is expected to ease the burden of about 500,000 passengers daily once completed in 2022. It will cover an area of 13,700 square meters and provide commuters a seamless transfer from one line to another.
The project, says the Department of Transportation, would have a roofed transit for the passengers operated by an automated fare collection system, allowing the users of better point-to-point comfort and mobility.
The station's reach will actually be bigger than estimated once all the pending rail projects are completed. The interconnection will serve passengers from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan in the north to Cavite in the south. The LRT 1 is being expanded over 33 kilometers, from Roosevelt in Quezon City to Niog, Bacoor in Cavite City.
Rail networks and their adjuncts are vital in efficiently moving people and goods. They decongest traffic in the metropolis and use cleaner fuel.
Infrastructure projects like the common rail station are what the Philippines needs to sustain a booming economy. The inauguration of the construction of the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos to Tutuban) today, for instance, will make commuting faster and reliable. The project is a 37.9-kilometer railway connecting Malolos, Bulacan and Tutuban in Manila with 10 elevated stations. This particular railway will boost traffic along the area and ease the plight of workers residing in the northern fringe of Metro Manila.
The government, meanwhile, should seriously pursue a modern railway line connecting Metro Manila to the Bicol region in the south and to as far as the Ilocos provinces in the north. Alternative transportation modes offer competition to traditional buses. They will eventually cause lower transportation fares and result in a more efficient service.