Feasibility study eyed for mass transit system
A consortium of Filipino-Chinese-Canadian transportation investors will be conducting a feasibility study for the establishment of monorail project in the city.
During a technical briefing and consultation meeting yesterday at the Mandaue City Hall with Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna and Chief of Staff Mae Elaine Bathan, transportation investors group Philtram Transportation Consortium Inc. has agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city government to conduct a study that will run from four to six months.
The feasibility study will be conducted by international consulting and engineering firm Systra to determine the economic feasibility of the proposed monorail project, point out the possible routes with the highest passenger traffic in the city and finalize the entire cost of the project.
“If the MOU will be signed immediately, then we can proceed with the study before the month ends,” said Philtram founder and Chief Operating Officer Jose Guardo Jr.
Through a joint venture with international railway firms China Railway Engineering Consulting (CREC) Group and Bombardier, Philtram aims to design a monorail transit system that has the capacity to transport over 48,000 passengers in an hour per direction through a 100-meter long train. This is Philtram’s first foray into the Philippine transportation system.
“It will only be a 90-second interval before another train comes to ferry another batch of passengers. And (the) MRT (Metro Rail Transit) in Manila cannot do that,” Guardo said, adding that the distance of each train station will be about 500 meters to a kilometer.
Philtram plans to build 13 stations from Mandaue to Cebu City with the foot of Marcelo Fernan Bridge as the terminal hub.
Each train can run in a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour for a straight line and has a turning radius of 46 meters.
The monorail system will be elevated five to ten meters above the road to ensure that its operations will not be hampered by traffic.
Guardo said the trains will ply along UN Avenue, D.M. Cortes Street, A. Soriano Avenue then on to South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City.
He added that they plan to explore more routes in Cebu City, but they have yet to identify these routes with the Cebu City government.
“We will include Cebu City in the equation. We are eyeing (to cover) 14 kilometers including some portions of Banawa, Fuente Circle via V. Rama Avenue and then Colon Street. This will depend on the volume of ridership,” Guardo said.
If this project is proven successful and if nearby towns express interest in the project, Philtram would possibly open more routes up to Consolacion in the north and Minglanilla in the south.
The monorail project costs around $40 million or approximately P2 billion per kilometer which is significantly cheaper and faster to build as compared to the MRT and LRT (Light Railway Transit), according to Guardo. This already includes the depot, the train and the infrastructure itself.
Provided that the project will be lobbied immediately to the national government for subsidy, the monorail project shall be completed by 2019 or 2020.
For their part, Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna said the city government was convinced that the project is the best solution to the traffic problems in the city.
“We guarantee that we are committed to the proposal,” Fortuna told reporters.
Fortuna declined from stating the amount that the city is willing to shell out for the project until the feasibility study is finished.
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