A FORMER secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and now official of the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) has proposed a P280-million temporary Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) common station to address the woes of the riding public.
During a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation, LRMC President Rogelio Singson said he made a proposal as the construction of the MRT and LRT common station may take long because of several issues, like the budget and a possible temporary restraining order (TRO).
“We have made an offer to the DOTr [Department of Transportation]. Because we studied it, and it seems the construction of the common station will take long because of issues like the budget and a possible TRO, we did study the possibility. We have made that offer to the DOTr, so it’s up to the government to decide,” Singson said.
Singson said LRMC is willing to shoulder the cost of a temporary common
station that will be located at the original site of the common station in front of SM North Edsa Annex.
“The temporary station is not in any way going to delay or affect the construction of the permanent common station,” Singson said. He said they can finish the construction of the temporary common station in 10 months.
“We’re looking at a construction of 10 months to 12 months. Once we’re given the go-signal, we hope to finish it within the year 2017. But, of course, as I said, it depends on the government, whether or not they accept our proposal. Then we will go back to our shareholders to decide,” he said.
“We will just need to operate that station for two-and-a-half years to three years to recover the costs because of increased ridership. So it will not be passed on [on the public], because under the concession agreement, there’s already a provision for regular fare increases. So this will not add to what is provided for under the concession agreement,” Singson said.
He said once the construction of permanent common station is done, the temporary common station will be removed.
“Of course, the better solution is the permanent station. But when is that going to happen? So it has to be decided by the government what it wants to do,” he said.
“The best solution is a common station, no doubt. But when will it happen? In the meantime, if we’re really concerned about public service, we can put up a station immediately. Because I’m concerned about ridership. That’s our service. I’m not in the mall business. Of course, our shareholders are also involved in the common station,” Singson said.
Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the agreement on common MRT-LRT station will undergo close scrutiny in Congress because it would cost the government an estimated P2.8 billion.
“We will ensure that construction of the common station would be beneficial to the riding public and not merely for big business interests involved in the project,” he said.
The agreement was signed last month by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar with LRT Authority Administrator Reynaldo Berroya, SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) executive chairman Hans Sy, Light Rail Manila Corp. vice chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang and North Triangle Depot Commercial Corp. (NTDCC) represented by Ayala Land Inc. vice chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.
The leadership of the lower chamber is pushing for the original location of the common station fronting SM North Edsa.
Alvarez said the original location of the common station fronting SM North Edsa, which was presented recently by Majority Leader and Lakas Rep. Danilo Suarez of Quezon, was more convenient to the riding public than the current proposal.