DOST, Baguio inks MOU on train system development

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology (DOST) officials opened up the possibility of developing a road train system in the city to ease problems on traffic in the Central Business District and nearby towns.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan and DOST Metals Industry Research and Development Center officer Robert Dizon signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the conduct of a feasibility study for the putting up of an Automatic Guideway Transit or Hybrid Electric Road Train for mass transport and alternative means of transportation in the city.

Present during the MOU signing are Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and DOST Regional Director Julius Ceasar Sicat, City Planning and Development Officer Evelyn Cayat and City Engineer Leo Bernardez.

Montejo said they are in the process of developing mass transport systems as envisioned by the country’s Science and Technology experts to help solve traffic congestion and reduce pollution especially for growing metropolitan areas such as Baguio City.

The DOST presented a prototype design of the road train system early this year and has been studying the development of these modes of transport in urban centers in the country.

Areas being eyed by the DOST for the development of an elevated road train system are the Central Business District and the Balili River banks which connects Baguio and La Trinidad as roads in these areas are often plagued with bumper to bumper traffic.

As a growing urban area, Baguio City has ballooned to a population of more than 350,000. This doubles during the peak season for tourism and from transient population composed of students and traders conducting their activities in the city.

Domogan, meanwhile, said the city is welcomes the MOU with the DOST stressing the road train system is an environment-friendly option for transport.

Domogan said the agreement details cooperation between two parties is for the conduct of a feasibility study for the coming up of a road train system like a monorail or tramline.

However, the mayor aired his concern on the new transport system’s effect on the livelihood of existing transport operators and drivers in the city.

He suggested for affected industries to be included in the study. He added Baguio is no stranger to this kind of project proposal as a separate feasibility study to develop a monorail and tram line in the city existed in 1993.

But he said this did not prosper since it will affect the livelihood of jeepney and taxi operators plying city routes.

However, he said time has come for a mass transport system in the city since some public utility jeepneys plying the city are ‘running coffins’ without maintenance and contribute heavily to pollution in the city.

But before this project prospers, there must be alternative livelihood for PUV drivers to be affected by the new development. He added transport groups could also enter into a public-private partnership with the government into operating the new mass transport system.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 20, 2013.

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