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Cebu News

Railway, cable cars in Cebu: Mass transport study underway

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Initial studies for a railway and aerial ropeway transit (ART) project in Cebu City are now underway.

This was disclosed during the city’s mobility summit by Leonel de Velez, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Project Development of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

De Velez participated in the summit off site via Zoom, which was streamed on social media by the city’s information office.

No less than President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. pushed for the establishment of a railway system in Cebu during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in June 2022 and ordered DOTr to be “full speed ahead” of the project.

De Velez assured the Marcos administration is pursuing the railway project seriously.

Based on initial study, the railway is expected to cover over 18 kilometers.

A feasibility study is expected to be conducted in 2023. It is estimated to cost around P108 million and can take between 1.5 to 2.5 years to finish, De Velez said.

He said that investment-grade studies can be commissioned with funding support from development partners.

Investment-grade studies “Are well-made, sufficient due diligence, surveys, consultations, sound financial and economic analysis that is acceptable to international ODA (Official Development Assistance) and private lenders(for PPPs).”

“We are looking to engage bilateral partners for funding for a feasibility study on this. We are considering the Government of India,” De Velez said.

On the other hand, Engr. Fortunato Sanchez, manager of Doppelmayr SRO Philippines, presented the viability of an ART system or cable cars in the city.

The company is proposing for an ART line from IT Park to Marco Polo Hotel in Barangay Apas all the way to the area of Tops in Barangay Busay.

Doppelmayr is the largest manufacturer of cable cars in the world. Doppelmayr SRO Philippines is also proposing one in Baguio City in Luzon.

Sanchez said they can work on getting an installation contract and feasibility study in two years and can already put up an ART system in the next two years after that.

Sanchez disclosed that in La Paz, Bolivia, Doppelmayr was able to establish 10 ART lines in one city in just five years.

“We are not competing with the lines proposed by JICA and the BRT. We are complementing these systems,” Sanchez said.

Meanwhile, the Cebu BRT Project Management Office headed by Engr. Norving Imbong said they are currently undergoing re-procurement works for the civil works of Package 1 of the project, which includes Osmeña Boulevard, from the Cebu Provincial Capitol to the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), and along N. Bacalso Avenue.

After several delays, the project is now targeted to operate partially by the fourth quarter of 2023 while the full operation of the entire 36-kilometer Cebu BRT serviced alignment is targeted to be operational by the second quarter of 2025.

The BRT, railway, and ART are all among the recommendations of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in its Master Plan Study and Institutional Development on Urban Transport Systems on Metro Cebu, which it released in March 2019, as reported by the city’s PIO. – JMO (FREEMAN)

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