Makati subway to charge least 20% higher than LRT, MRT fares

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — Commuters looking to take the planned Makati City subway will have to brace themselves for higher fares compared to those charged by existing train lines.

Businessman Antonio Tiu, who is leading the newly-formed Makati City Subway Inc., said the 10-kilometer (km) railway line will be up and running in five years. Heavy works will begin in the next six months as the group awaits the arrival of tunnel-boring machines to start digging for stations and railway tracks.

On Tuesday, Tiu's Philippine Infradev Holdings, Inc. signed a joint venture deal with the Makati government, posting a $350-million performance bond as a commitment to finishing the project. The ₱180-billion project will be financed fully through private sources, and will not receive any subsidies from the government. The underground project is likewise more expensive to build.

Tiu said that while their fare projections are based on current rates of the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT), the Makati subway will be slightly more expensive.

"We expect there will be continuous inflation for the next five years so most likely the fare will be at a premium over MRT, maybe 20-25 percent," Tiu said during a media forum at the Kamuning Bakery on Friday.

The end-to-end MRT fare is set at ₱28, spanning 13 stations. Meanwhile, the LRT line 1 charges ₱30 for a 20.7 km stretch. A 25 percent premium will bring the subway's rate to about ₱38 for 10 stops.

However, Tiu clarified that the subway system will be relying more on non-fare revenues, such as commercial leases of stores within its 10 stations, to support the operations of the train line.

Funding during the construction phase is supported through loans secured by their Philippine InfraDev's Chinese partners Greenland Holdings Group, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group Co. Ltd., Holdings Ltd., and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd.

"We expect commuters to enjoy the subway before 2025," Tiu said. Construction will last for three years to be followed by trial runs and safety checks for six months.

Pending its completion, Tiu added that they are also in talks with two neighboring cities to possibly extend the subway line to these areas. Plans to connect the Makati subway to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are also on the table, but no deals have been inked yet.

So far, the city loop consists of 10 stops, starting from the Ospital ng Makati to Ayala Avenue. Tiu said it will connect to the MRT Guadalupe Station and the upcoming Mega Manila subway funded through a loan from Japan.

The trains will cut travel time along the 10 km stretch from 1.5 hours to just 10-15 minutes, Tiu said.