MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Imagine travelling on a car-like suspended transport system when in Danao City in northern Cebu.
Dorothy Pinyoloya, CEO of Transit X, said their company has allocated an initial investment of $759 million on Danao City, of which, about $300 to $500 million will be spent on the manufacture of podway in the city.
If everything would push through according to plan, Pinyoloya said they hope to also employ at least 2,000 residents in their manufacturing plant.
And when they start to become fully operation, Pinyoloya said the city government could earn as much as $700 million in revenues.
“We are literally investing our dollars into Danao City because we trust in the city and we trust in the initiatives of the government,” she said during an investment forum that the city government organized on Saturday, July 8.
Ramon Gorre, head of Danao City’s Planning and Development Office (CPDO) , said the proposal from Transit X involve the manufacture and installation of podway in their city.
But before this could officially start, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would have to be signed between the city government and Transit X.
The draft of the MOU is now with the Danao City Council for review and approval. As soon as this was approved, council members would have to authorize Mayor Thomas Mark Durano to sign the MOU on behalf of the city government, he told CDN Digital in an interview.
Transit X is a rapid transit company that produces podway, a string-based monorail that resembles a cable car.
Pinyoloya said their technology is decarbonized as it reduces pollution and traffic congestion. Their podway are fully automated and powered by solar panels.
A single pod, she said, could take the place of 30 cars.
Transit X made the first public demonstration and rollout of its podway in October 2018 while a pilot podway was installed in Massachusetts in October 2021. Its first system is set to start operations this 2023.
According to information posted on the company’s website, ultra-light pods will travel alongside roadways and suspended under a thin gateway.
“Stops can be on every block, parking lot and loading dock. Destinations are entered via smart phone or kiosk prior to boarding. A passenger boards a pod at ground level. A lift raises the pod to the guideway where it merges onto the main podway and travels nonstop until landing at the destination,” it said.
The company added that fares will be fixed “similar to existing public transportation.”
First in Cebu
Gorre said that aside from addressing the city’s transportation needs, having solar powered podway in Danao City is expected to attract tourist to their city.
“This is expected to also bring in tourists because this is a first in Cebu,” he told CDN Digital.
A study to determine the feasibility of operating podway in their city was already completed before he assumed office as the CPDO head in July 2022.
Gorre said that a soon as the MOU was signed, Transit X would already test the viability of the system. They would be using a 50 meter stretch of city road fronting the Danao City Hall for the purpose.
The installation of the podway is expected to last about two to three months, he said.
Gorre admitted that some pedicab drivers may be displaced as a result of the city’s adoption of this new transport system. But they are among those who will be prioritized in Transit X’s manufacturing plant that may be soon be situated at the Danao City Industrial Park.
And since the podway would be installed above the sidewalk of city and brangay roads, right of way issues would not be a problem.
“We don’t need any government funding, We are privately funded, so we don’t need any subsidies,” Pinyoloya said during the investment forum.
Pinyoloya said they chose to invest in Danao City because “it aligns with the ethics of our company and that is sustainability.”
“We have seen major city’s but it [Danao City] has stood out from among all the other cities,” she said.
“And the PPP that was signed has solidified our collaboration. We know that the government will support us because we can’t do this alone. We have to work in collaboration with the government,” she added.
In his message during the investment forum, Gorre said the city government would always welcome project proposals from the private sector to address their city’s transportation needs.