Here’s some good news for those already fed up with the hellish public transportation situation in Metro Manila: once the South Commuter Railway Project is finished, you’re looking at faster travel time and an even greener transport option at that.
The project covers the construction of the Blumentritt-Calamba section, a nearly 55-km modern suburban railway that is part of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) network. It aims to connect commuters seamlessly to the existing lines of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Manila Metro Rail Transit (MRT), and even the upcoming Metro Manila Subway system.
Just this month, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved up to $4.3 billion to finance its construction. It is ADB’s largest infrastructure financing in the Asia and Pacific region to date. The project will also be co-financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will be funding the rolling stock and railway systems.
ADB, in partnership with the Department of Transportation, has released artistic renders of what the South Commuter Railway Project will look like. This includes sleek and modernist connecting stations. The 18 stations to be constructed will be accessible to the elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities.
According to ADB, all infrastructure will be designed for disaster resilience and should be able to weather through typhoons and earthquakes. But most notably it promises to cut travel time in half; currently, it takes 2.5 hours to get from Manila to Calamba by road.
The South Commuter Railway Project is expected to empower workers with faster and more accessible commuting options. By ADB’s estimate, the project will most benefit those commuting to work every day from the south to Manila business districts as it will reduce travel time to an hour.
It will also create 35,500 jobs during construction and over 3,200 permanent jobs during operation. A technical assistance grant” will also be provided to support affected communities.
As for its green aspect, the South Commuter Railway Project is designed to contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Philippines’ climate change agenda, according to ADB.