Cebu News

Cebu Monorail ‘Done by 2021’

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — If everything goes according to plan, the proposed 16.5-kilometer monorail transit project in Cebu will be operational by 2021.

Jose Guardo Jr., chief operations officer of Philtram Transportation Consortium Corp., the main proponent of the monorail project in Metro Cebu, revealed yesterday the monorail’s route as recommended by Systra Philippines, a French-run company which conducts the project’s feasibility study.

The 16.5-kilometer monorail is being eyed to start at Citta Di Mare at the South Road Properties, then to SM Seaside City, to Mambaling Access Road, to Natalio Bacalso Avenue, to Katipunan area, to P. del Rosario Street, to Zapatera, to Robinsons Galleria, to SM City Cebu, to Mandaue City, to Parkmall, to San Miguel area, to Maguikay, to Pacific Mall.

Guardo said there will be 16 to 17 stations for the alignment from Cebu City to Mandaue City. The monorail can expand to include a route to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the next phases of the project.

Guardo said the route was based on the ridership forecast, traffic and business case.

Citing computations by the Bombardier Transportation National Economic and Development Authority, Guardo said the Cebu monorail is estimated to cost $27 million to $35 million per kilometer.

Zhijun Lu, senior engineer and team leader from China Railway Engineering Consulting Group, said it would take 30 minutes to travel from the SRP to Mandaue City once the monorail is operational.

Last month, officials of Philtram and Beijing-based China Railway Engineering Consulting Group, Co. Ltd. (CEC) signed a memorandum of cooperation to jointly pursue multi-billion peso monorail projects in Metro Cebu and other sites in the country.

CEC is an affiliate of China Railway Engineering Corp. (CREC) that will lead the eventual construction of monorails, and a sister company of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. Puzhen, a joint venture with Bombardier that manufactures train coaches.

Lu said the monorail will stop every 30 to 60 seconds per station depending on the volume of passengers.

Guardo said Systra Philippines is expected to wrap up the full feasibility study next month.

The detailed engineering study, which will be conducted next to the feasibility study, will take one year to be completed. Another two years will be needed to construct the stations and logistics.

Guardo assured that no historical landscape would be affected in the construction of the elevated mass transportation, adding that the monorail system is “still able to keep a good view and scenery for passengers and create a beautiful urban landscape.”

He said the company is considering to let the monorail transit traverse into a loop alignment within Cebu City but Systra has not recommended this because of the narrow roads of the city.

He also said the monorail will not have issues on the road right of way acquisition because it is elevated.

BRT link

Guardo said the monorail project will connect with the stations of the Bus Rapid Transit project, especially along the Natalio Bacalso Avenue.

He said no jeepney drivers will be displaced since the monorail and the BRT will need feeders like the jeepneys to ferry the passengers to designated stations and stops.

He said the monorail will connect with BRT’s route in three points along Natalio Bacalso Avenue, another one near the Mambaling Flyover where Phase 1 may cross from SRP, and yet another near Cebu South Bus Terminal.

Guardo said the monorail transit will run at 80 kilometers per hour but in traversing curves, it will reduce to 35 to 40 kph.

It will have 1.2 to 1.5-meter diameter columns with height of 5.5 meters and placed 30 meters apart. The monorail, he said, will also feature an escalator for easy exchange or transfer of commuters from the monorail to BRT and vice versa.

It will be a two-way monorail with six coaches and can carry 750 passengers.

Fare concerns

Guardo assured that the mass will enjoy riding the transportation without worrying much on the fare.

Initially, he said, if there’s subsidy from the national government, senior citizens and students will only pay P10 per stop.

In Manila, people are paying P15 for two stops and P28 for eight kilometers. Guardo said the fare matrix has yet to be finalized in the full feasibility study.

Guardo said he is hoping to have a joint venture agreement with the national government so that the approval of the project will not go through National Economic and Development Authority and its committees.

Sought for comment, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña welcomed the development.

“Generally speaking, yeah, as long as the city will not spend for it. No major investment for the city because we’re not in the position to do that…It’s nice. To tell you frankly, it’s nice and I told them I’ll work with them,” the mayor added. (FREEMAN)

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