Metro Manila Subway: A Game-Changing Solution to Traffic Congestion

Table of Contents

The Metro Manila Subway is an upcoming underground rapid transit line in Metro Manila, Philippines. It is part of the Duterte Administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program and will be the country’s first mass underground transport system. The subway will run north-south between Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Taguig, Parañaque, and Pasay, consisting of 17 stations between the East Valenzuela and NAIA Terminal 3 stations.

The construction of the Metro Manila Subway is a significant project that aims to address the transportation challenges in the metro. The subway system is expected to reduce travel time and ease traffic congestion, especially in areas with high foot traffic. The project is being carried out in two phases and will use Japanese tunnel-boring machines and technologies. The first two stations, Ortigas and Shaw Boulevard broke ground in October 2022, and the project is expected to be completed by 2027.

The Metro Manila Subway is expected to serve 1.5 million passengers daily, providing a faster, safer, and more convenient mode of transportation. It is also likely to boost economic growth and development in the metro, opening up new opportunities for businesses and industries. With the construction of the subway underway, the people of Metro Manila can look forward to a better and more efficient transportation system.

Metro Manila Subway photo via DOTR
Metro Manila Subway photo via DOTR

Project Overview

Historical Background

The Metro Manila Subway Project is an ambitious undertaking by the Philippine government to create an underground rapid transit line in Metro Manila. The idea was first proposed in the 1970s, but it was not until 2017 that the project was finally approved. The project is being implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with the financial assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Scope and Scale

The Metro Manila Subway Project is considered the “Project of the Century” for the Philippines. It is set to benefit half a million Filipino passengers by 2028. The project will span 35 kilometers from the ongoing common railway station on Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City, through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City. It will connect 17 stations and a depot, making it the Philippines’ first mass underground transport system.

Once finished, the Metro Manila Subway will run at an operational speed of 80kph, with a maximum speed of 120kph. It is expected to serve up to 519,000 passengers per day. The project is divided into three phases, with the first phase set to be completed by 2025. The project is expected to cost P393 billion, with most of the funding coming from JICA.

The Metro Manila Subway Project is a vital infrastructure project that will help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila and improve the transportation system in the region. The project is hoped to also boost economic growth and development in the Philippines.

Subway Project in Metro Manila photo via DOTR
Subway Project in Metro Manila photo via DOTR

Stations and Infrastructure

Major Stations

The Metro Manila Subway is an underground rapid transit line running north-south between Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Taguig, Parañaque, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport. As of October 2022, 17 Metro Manila Subway Stations have been confirmed. Currently under construction, the Common Station will connect the subway to the Light Rail Transit Line 1, Metro Rail Transit Line 3, and the future Metro Manila Subway Line 9.

Metro Manila Subway Stations

  • East Valenzuela
  • Quirino Highway
  • Tandang Sora
  • North Avenue
  • Quezon Avenue
  • East Avenue
  • Anonas
  • Camp Aguinaldo
  • Ortigas
  • Shaw Boulevard
  • 11th avenue
  • McKinley Parkway
  • Lawton
  • Senate – DepEd
  • FTI
  • Bicutan
  • NAIA Terminal 3

Tunnel and Facilities

The Metro Manila Subway Project is a 33.1 km-long subway constructed in Metro Manila, Philippines, from Valenzuela to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), connecting 17 stations and a depot. The project will include 25.3 kilometers of tunnels, including a 4.4-kilometer-long tunnel underneath the Pasig River. The tunnels will be constructed using a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross-section.

The project also includes the construction of a depot in Valenzuela, which will serve as the maintenance and storage facility for the subway trains. The depot will have a total area of 33 hectares and will include facilities for train maintenance, repair, and cleaning. Additionally, the subway will be equipped with modern facilities such as elevators, escalators, and air conditioning systems to ensure passenger comfort and safety.

The First Mass Subway in the Philippines photo via DOTr
The First Mass Subway in the Philippines photo via DOTr

Construction and Development

Phase 1

The construction of the Metro Manila Subway project began in January 2023, after the groundbreaking ceremony was held in Valenzuela City. The project is divided into three phases, with the first phase being the most extensive. Phase 1 will include the construction of a 33.1-kilometer subway line from Valenzuela to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), connecting 17 stations and a depot. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2028, with the remaining two phases to be completed by 2035.

Contractors and Technology

Several contractors have been involved in the construction of the Metro Manila Subway project. The project is being built using state-of-the-art technology, including tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to excavate the underground tunnels. The project’s contractors include Shimizu Corporation, Fujita Corporation, Takenaka Civil Engineering Co., Ltd., EEI Corporation, and Nishimatsu Construction Co., Ltd.

Construction Works

The construction works for the Metro Manila Subway project include the excavation of underground tunnels, construction of stations, and installation of railway systems. The excavation of the tunnels is being carried out using TBMs, which are capable of excavating at a rate of up to 20 meters per day. The stations will be constructed using cut-and-cover and mined tunnel methods. The railway system will include tracks, signaling systems, power systems, and communication systems.

The Metro Manila Subway is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by 2035. The project is expected to provide a much-needed solution to the traffic congestion problems in Metro Manila and improve the city’s transportation system.

Funding and Partnerships

Loan Agreements

The Metro Manila Subway project has been made possible through a combination of loans and grants from various sources. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended a loan of P112.9 billion to the Philippine government for the construction of the subway system. This loan agreement was signed by the Department of Finance (DOF) and JICA in 2024 [1].

In addition, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has signed a contract worth PHP 17.75 billion with Tokyu-Tobishima Megawide Joint Venture (TTM-JV) for the first phase of the subway system. This contract package is dubbed CP104 and includes the construction of the tunnel and stations [2].

International Collaboration

The Metro Manila Subway project resulted from an international collaboration between Japan and the Philippines. Japan has been a key partner in developing the subway system, providing technical expertise and financial assistance.

Japan-based Tokyu Construction, along with its partners, has secured a $338 million contract to construct subway stations and tunnels in Manila [3]. A joint venture (JV), including Japanese engineering firm Tobishima and Philippine-based Megawide Construction, will commence work on the project in July.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has also announced that a joint venture composed of two Japanese construction companies and Megawide Construction Corp. has secured the P13.26 billion contract to build the two stations of the Japan-funded Metro Manila Subway [4].

Overall, the funding and partnerships behind the Metro Manila Subway project demonstrate the importance of international collaboration in developing large-scale infrastructure projects.

Operations and Management

The Metro Manila Subway Project is a massive undertaking that will revolutionize public transportation in the Philippines. As with any large-scale infrastructure project, the operations and management of the system are critical to its success. This section will cover some of the key aspects of the operations and management of the Metro Manila Subway.

Train Sets and Capacity

The Metro Manila Subway is expected to have a capacity of 2,242 passengers per train set, with 42 train sets planned for the system. This will allow the system to handle up to 519,000 passengers daily. The trains are designed to be driverless, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of human error.

The train will be equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and CCTV cameras to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. The trains will also be wheelchair accessible, making the system more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Safety and Maintenance

Safety is a top priority for the Metro Manila Subway Project. The system will have state-of-the-art safety features such as fire detection and suppression systems, emergency lighting, and intercoms. The trains will also be equipped with automatic train protection systems to prevent collisions and ensure safe operations.

Maintenance is critical to the success of any transportation system, and the Metro Manila Subway will be no exception. The system will be maintained by a highly skilled professional responsible for ensuring that the trains and infrastructure are in top condition. Regular maintenance checks will be carried out to prevent breakdowns and ensure the system runs smoothly.

Impact and Benefits

Economic Growth

The Metro Manila Subway Project is expected to impact the Philippine economy significantly. According to the Department of Transportation, the project is expected to generate about 28,000 jobs during construction and over 100,000 jobs once the subway is operational. The project will also likely attract foreign investments and boost the country’s tourism industry.

Traffic Decongestion

The Metro Manila Subway Project is set to address the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, which is one of the major problems that the city is facing. The subway system will provide an alternative mode of transportation for commuters, which will help reduce the number of cars on the road. The reduction in the number of cars on the road will lead to a decrease in traffic congestion, resulting in shorter travel times for commuters.

Environmental Considerations

The Metro Manila Subway Project is expected to have a positive impact on the environment. The subway system will help reduce the carbon footprint of the city by promoting the use of public transportation. The reduction in the number of cars on the road will also help reduce air pollution in the city.

The project is also expected to be energy-efficient. The trains will be powered by electricity, which is a cleaner source of energy than gasoline or diesel. The subway system will also help reduce noise pollution in the city, which is a major problem in Metro Manila.

The Metro Manila Subway Project is expected to be a crown jewel of the Philippine transportation system. The project will complement the existing North–South Commuter Railway and reduce travel time for commuters. While the project will come at a cost, the benefits that it will bring to the Philippine economy and the people of Metro Manila are expected to far outweigh the costs.

Challenges and Controversies

Right-of-Way Issues

One of the major challenges that the Metro Manila Subway project faced was the right-of-way issue. The subway system will traverse several private properties, which make it difficult for the government to acquire the necessary land. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) had to negotiate with landowners to acquire the land needed for the project.

According to a news article from GMA News, as of July 22, 2023, the right-of-way acquisition for the subway project was still a challenge. The article reported that the project was only 5.6% complete, and the right-of-way acquisition was one of the reasons for the delay.

Project Delays

The Metro Manila Subway project has faced several delays since its inception. The feasibility study for the subway system was completed in 2013, but the project only broke ground in 2019. One of the reasons for the delay was the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the construction industry in the Philippines.

A news article from Journal Online reported that the Metro Manila Subway project was still alive despite present challenges and the global crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The article stated that the project was dubbed the “Project of the Century” and was expected to be completed by 2025.

According to a news article from ABS-CBN News, as of July 22, 2023, the construction of the subway was only 5.6%, and the project was 33% complete. The article reported that the design and procurement were almost complete, but the progress of construction was slow.

Future Prospects

The Metro Manila Subway is a major investment in the Philippines’ public transit system, and it is expected to have a significant impact on transportation in the region. While the initial phase of the project is set to be completed by 2025, there are already plans in place to extend the subway system and integrate it with other transit systems.

Planned Extensions

One of the most significant planned extensions of the Metro Manila Subway is the Spur Line, which will connect the subway to the LRT-2 and MRT Line 3. This will provide commuters with a seamless and efficient transit experience, as they will be able to transfer between systems without having to exit and re-enter the station.

Another planned extension is the Rapid Transit Line, which will connect the Metro Manila Subway to the LRT Line 1. This line will run from Monumento to Bacoor, and will provide commuters with an alternative to the congested roads of Metro Manila.

Integration with Other Transit Systems

The Metro Manila Subway is also set to be integrated with other transit systems in the region. This includes buses, which will provide last-mile connectivity to commuters, and the Mega Manila Subway, which is a proposed subway system that will connect Metro Manila to other nearby cities.

Integrating the Metro Manila Subway with other transit systems will provide commuters with a more comprehensive public transit system and help reduce road congestion.

The Metro Manila Subway Project
The Metro Manila Subway Project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current status of the Metro Manila Subway construction?

As of January 2024, the construction of the Metro Manila Subway is ongoing. According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the project is progressing as planned. The DOTr reported that the tunnel boring machines have already started digging the tunnels for the subway.

Which areas are connected by the Metro Manila Subway?

The Metro Manila Subway will run north-south between Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Taguig, Parañaque, and Pasay. It will have a total of 15 stations between the East Valenzuela and NAIA Terminal 3.

When is the expected completion date for the Metro Manila Subway?

The expected completion date for the Metro Manila Subway is in 2025. The DOTr has reported that the project is on schedule, and there are no significant delays or issues that could affect the completion date.

Who are the primary contractors involved in the Metro Manila Subway project?

The primary contractors involved in the Metro Manila Subway project are Shimizu Corporation, Fujita Corporation, Takenaka Civil Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd., EEI Corporation, and Macroasia Corporation. These contractors were chosen based on their track record and experience in building underground railways.

How many stations will the Metro Manila Subway have upon completion?

The Metro Manila Subway will have a total of 15 stations upon completion. These stations will be strategically located in different parts of Metro Manila to provide commuters with easy access to the subway.

What are the estimated costs associated with the Metro Manila Subway project?

The estimated cost of the Metro Manila Subway project is PHP 357.2 billion. The project is being funded by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The DOTr has reported that the project is within budget and that there are no significant cost overruns or issues that could affect the completion of the project.

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