Freeman Cebu Business

Monorail will solve Cebu's traffic problem — backers

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Proponents of the monorail system in Cebu are optimistic the mass transit will greatly improve the mobility in Cebu’s metropolitan area once it is realized.

Jose Guardo Jr., chief operating officer of Philtram Transportation Consortium Inc., the main proponent of monorail transport system in Metro Cebu, said in a press conference yesterday this will significantly solve Cebu’s worsening traffic woes, thus improving its mobility.

"Productivity will be increased. Cebu will experience exponential growth," he said.

The company, together with its Chinese partners and consultants, is working on the feasibility study of the project which they hope to finish as soon as possible as the company eyes this project to be operational by 2021 granting the support of the government.

Guardo said Cebu definitely needs the monorail system to address its traffic problem.

"Cebu is growing. It's booming so we need to go the elevated monorail," the official said.

He also said the monorail will complement with the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which is about to be implemented soon.

A monorail is a railway system in which the track consists of a single rail, typically elevated and with the trains suspended from it. The term is also used to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track. Many monorails run on elevated tracks through crowded areas that would otherwise require the construction of expensive underground lines or have the disadvantages of surface lines.

In May, the Cebu City government had signed a memorandum of understanding for the conduct of a business case study for the monorail system here.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the business case study will involve analyses of present or future trip generation/distribution; probable alignments; ridership levels and fares; preliminary design; related cost estimates; project viability assessment; and formulation of implementation plans; and project financing, among others.

A hybrid LRT-Subway project had also been proposed for Cebu.

The project proposal includes an LRT line that runs from the south of Cebu (outside the city), and transitions into a subway line traversing the Cebu City Center.

It then shifts again into an LRT line going north of the City.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had found this proposal conceptually better given the narrow streets of Cebu City.

Pernia had said previously that the LRT-Subway proposal will still have to undergo the rigorous and long processes of project proposal and approval.

As standard practice for all big-ticket public projects, proposals are brought to the concerned line agency with a completed Feasibility Study (FS).

Should FS findings show the projects’ economic viability, these proposals will be thoroughly evaluated by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) Technical Board prior to the NEDA ICC Cabinet Committee, then the NEDA Board for final approval.

A railway system has long been clamored by both the commuting public and the business sector, as this is seen as an effective solution to traffic woes.

There had been proposals to build a mass transport in Cebu but none had so far been realized.

The Metro Cebu Roadmap by the Japan International Cooperation Agency has cited developing a highway network and public transport as among the projects Cebu should prioritize.

The Metro Cebu Roadmap was initiated in 2013 by Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board, JICA, and Yokohama City in Japan to attain the Mega Cebu Vision 2050. (FREEMAN)

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