Metro Manila, Philippines (September 28, 2016) – Stakeholders in the proposed common station for the LRT and MRT train lines finally agreed to build the station between SM North EDSA and TriNoma shopping malls in the vicinity of EDSA and North Avenue in Quezon City. The deal would finally end a seven-year deadlock over the location of the common station.

Signing of memorandum of agreement for the LRT-MRT common station. From left to right: LRTA Deputy Administrator Emerson Benitez, LRMC Vice Chairman Manuel Pangilinan, SMPHI President Hans Sy, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, North Triangle Depot Commercial Corp. represented by ALI Vice Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and ULC Chairman and President Ramon Ang. Photo courtesy of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala official Facebook page.

Both SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) and Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) signed the agreement with the officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the proposed common station that will connect the MRT Line 3 (MRT3),  LRT Line 1 (LRT1) and the future MRT-7. It will provide a common concourse or a “lobby” where train commuters can transfer from one line to another conveniently. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) also said that there will be an underpass that will integrate with the common station.

Proposed location of the LRT-MRT common station.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the construction is expected to begin before the end of the year and to be fully operational in two and a half years. The engineering and structural designs as well as the cost, including the name of the station, are yet to be finalized.

LRT-1 runs from Roosevelt station in Quezon City to Baclaran station in Parañaque, is currently operated and managed by Light Rail Manila Corp (LRMC) comprised of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Ayala Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd. MRT-3 spans North Avenue station in Quezon City to Taft Avenue station in Pasay City. MRT-7 is currently under construction by San Miguel Corp. subsidiary Universal Light Rail Corp. BV Ltd (ULC) from North Avenue in Quezon City to City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.

Legal issues

DOTr said the deal will pave the way for filing a joint motion to lift the outstanding temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court.

In 2014, SM Prime Holdings Inc. obtained a Supreme Court order stopping the transportation department, then headed by Joseph Emilio Abaya, and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) from transferring the common station from SM North EDSA to TriNoma mall. SMPH said there was a memorandum of agreement signed in 2009 between SMPH and LRTA, for the common station to be built beside SM North EDSA, after the mall developer paid P200 million to the government for the naming rights to the proposed common station.

In 2014, the government insisted in putting up the proposed common station near TriNoma mall because of the estimated Php 1 billion savings to the government and passenger convenience. [techthetruth]

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