It is an exciting time as far as mass transit infrastructure in Metro Manila and areas are concerned. With the ongoing construction of Line 2 East Extension and Line 7, the commencement of the Line 1 Cavite Extension; the Mega Manila Subway, and the combined Commuter Rail projects from Malolos to Los Baños; and plans for a Line 2 West Extension, and a Makati subway and it’s nice to see these projects finally moving forward.
That being said, there is still a long way to go towards the goal of a connected metropolis/megapolis via mass transportation as there are several key areas that have yet to be serviced, not even official plans yet. As your friendly Urban Roamer, I have listed down 13 key areas that need to be connected with a mass transit service. These areas are enumerated below in random order:
1. España-Quezon Avenue Corridor – Fun fact: the Line 7 currently under construction was originally envisioned to run from Fairview all the way to Lerma in Manila (originally to be called Line 4) but it was changed, supposedly due to concerns of some sectors in Manila that an elevated line will kill businesses as it did with Rizal Avenue. While those concerns are understandable, considering the traffic experienced along the combined length of España Boulevard and Quezon Avenue, it was a mistake to do so outright.
Currently, there are proposals for a BRT and a rail transit line to service the area but it remains to be seen how these proposals and if which one, or perhaps both, would eventually be built. It would be nice for this line to be connected to Line 2 in Recto and Line 7 in either Quezon Memorial Circle or University Avenue.
2. Ortigas Avenue Extension-Southwest Rizal Corridor – The area that is east Metro Manila and the southwest portion of Rizal, particularly the not-yet-cities of Cainta and Taytay, is an area experiencing massive growth but is underserved as far as transportation is concerned. It also does not help that there is only one major thoroughfare in this area such that it is heavy paralyzed by traffic, even on Saturdays at least. A mass transit line would thus help provide more options, not to mention a viable means of transport.
There is a pending proposal at this time of writing for such a mass transit line, linking Ortigas Center to Taytay. Prior to that, there was already a recommendation for a line serving that particular corridor and beyond, which we will get to shortly.
3. Manila-Mandaluyong-Ortigas Center Corridor – At the moment, going from Manila, particular from the eastern portion, to Mandaluyong and Ortigas Center is a pain thanks to the heavy traffic, not to mention the flood-prone areas along the way. A transit line serving this area would be beneficial, whether that line will utilize the Shaw Boulevard path or the Boni-Pioneer path, both having their own advantages. The Shaw line will be advantageous to a lot of commercial establishments and residential neighborhoods while the Boni-Pioneer line offers accessibility to Mandaluyong proper, the Makati links, and the business district along Pioneer.
Interestingly, the Japanese Transportation Ministry made a study of a possible transit line in the area in the early 2010s. The transit line they proposed goes way beyond this corridor as it was envisioned to serve as well Ortigas Avenue Extension and Southwest Rizal corridor, linking the two corridors together in one line. Sadly, there are no developments on this matter and the aforementioned proposed Ortigas Center-Taytay line does not mention any connectivity to Mandaluyong and Manila.
4. Alabang-Zapote Corridor – The stretch of Alabang-Zapote Road is another thoroughfare with horrendous traffic. Considering both ends of the road have mass transit links with Line 1 in Zapote and the Rail Commuter Line in Alabang, a transit line that will at least connect both transit lines would help improve mobility in the area.
5. Makati CBD-Bonifacio Global City Corridor – Sure, there are the BGC buses serving this corridor right now but: 1) The buses do not directly connect to Makati CBD itself, save for very few buses and a very limited timeframe; and 2) the traffic between Makati CBD and BGC is a pain at the moment. A less-stressful option connecting the two business districts is very much needed.
6. Lawton Avenue Corridor – This area serves as a link between Bonifacio Global City and the South Luzon Expressway/South Commuter Rail line/NAIA area and is experiencing continuous growth in itself but public transportation is having struggles catching up. A mass transit line is needed, given its connection to the presence of Fort Bonifacio, McKinley Hill and McKinley West townships, and the future Bonifacio South, not to mention the area the future sites of the Supreme Court and the Senate. Reportedly though, the Mega Manila Subway will have a spur line servicing the area but we shall see.
7. Mall of Asia Complex – It was a missed opportunity that the present Line 3 in EDSA ended up only up to Taft Avenue, given the commuter demand beyond the station up to the southern tip of EDSA which is the Mall of Asia complex. Not sure if it is feasible to extend Line 3 to the area but most probably, it may be served by a different line altogether. Or they can follow this Roamer’s suggestion of constructing a new EDSA mass transit line.
8. Imus-Dasmariñas Corridor – While these two cities are not part of Metro Manila itself, by account of their proximity to the metropolis and the unprecedented growth experienced in this area, they have become virtual extensions of Metro Manila. It is thus fitting that this area would have a mass transit link to connect it to the greater metropolis. There is a proposal for a mass transit to serve this area that would connect to the Line 1 Cavite extension that is, finally, going to get built. Hopefully it will not take a long time for this to be a reality this time around.
9. Gil Puyat Avenue Corridor – This particular road is both overserved and underserved at the same time as far as mass transit is concerned. Currently there are 3 transit passing through this road: Line 1, PNR, and Line 3. But it’s a missed opportunity that until now, there is no dedicated line in the area that would not only connect to these 3 transit lines, but also serve high-density areas such as northern Pasay, west Makati, the Makati CBD, and Makati Poblacion areas. There is also the prospect of extending a possible transit line there further to C5 on the east to the GSIS and/or CCP Complex in the west.
10. Marikina-Northwest Rizal Corridor – During the prewar era, there was actually a rail line that traversed this area. Given the growth being experienced in the area, and worsening traffic along with it, it would be a good idea to revive this link through a mass transit line.
11. Pasig City Center – Even with Pasig’s f*%^ed up traffic scheme, the traffic in the area around C. Raymundo-Pasig Boulevard-Sixto Antonio is still messed up. Given as well the high density of the area, a mass transit line serving this part of Pasig would be some sort of relief and connect commuters to BGC and/or Ortigas Avenue Extension.
12. Sucat Road Corridor – Having passed by at least a portion of Dr. A. Santos Avenue (AKA Sucat Road), the Urban Roamer can attest how traffic can be unbearable in this area at times. That being said, it is still a question whether a mass transit line plying this area would be viable but it’s certainly not unwanted.
13. North Caloocan and Novaliches – The Urban Roamer is not familiar with this part of the metropolis but from a quick check in Google Maps and Waze show that traffic tends to be heavy in this area. Hopefully the planned northern extension of the Mega Manila subway would help alleviate the situation there, assuming the plans don’t change at some point.
14. NAIA – The Urban Roamer has bemoaned a while back about the limited public transportation options throughout the airport complex. While a mass transit serving our international gateway is a welcome development to have, there is the looming prospect that there are plans for a new Manila International Airport to be built in either Bulacan or Sangley which would eventually mean the shutdown of operation in NAIA. And there is little doubt this is why there has been no full commitment for such a link. Still, it’s a long way to go and there are plans for an airport link via the Mega Manila Subway.
Realistically, not all of these areas will have a mass transit connection. But at the very least, it is the Urban Roamer’s hope that the Department of Transportation would seriously look into the viability of these connections if we are to realize greater and more efficient mobility for the people in and around the metropolis.