A MANILA-based firm and a Beijing-based company agreed to prioritize the planned 12-kilometer business monorail line in Cebu from Mandaue City to the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City.
PhilTram Transportation Consortium Corp. and China Railway Engineering Consulting Group, Co. Ltd. (CEC) sealed last week a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) to pursue the multi-billion peso monorail projects in Metro Cebu and other sites in the country.
Under the MOC, CEC will undertake the feasibility studies to help attract financing and consortium partners for all possible projects, as well as the detailed engineering and design.
These include the architectural design of the stations, terminals, stockyard and maintenance depot, property development and other rail related projects.
In the next few months, a team from CEC’s technical group in the Philippines will also be visiting Cebu and the other project sites for inspections and preliminary observations preparatory to the conduct of more detailed studies.
PhilTram, on the other hand, will handle the sourcing of local talents, architects, designers, and engineers who will be involved in the design and development stage, as well as assume all regulatory requirements.
PhilTram has already signed separate memorandums of understanding (MOU) with the cities of Cebu and Mandaue to collaborate in the conduct of a feasibility study last May.
In Cebu City, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who signed the MOU on behalf of the City Government, welcomed the proposal provided that the monorail will not compete, but rather complement operations of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, now on stream.
“Sure, they can do a study on that. Passing through the SRP corridor sounds like a nice plan,” Osmeña told SunStar Cebu in a text message.
In a previous report, PhilTram president Arnold Ray Alagar said the proposed monorail transit system (MRT) will not only be a traffic solution, but also a platform for urban development.
He believes that the MRT will provide an “economical solution” to the traffic woes compared to the Light Railway Transit.
The MRT, Alagar said, can ferry at least 40,000 passengers per hour every day, or 1,200 persons per trip at a fare of P10.
The proposed MRT will have a terminal hub, which will be located at the foot of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, and 14 stations from Mandaue to Cebu City.
Once operational, it will pass United Nations Ave., D.M. Cortes Street, A. Soriano Ave. in Mandaue City, going to the SRP.
Alagar said the monorail is designed to go to Mandaue City, Consolacion in the north, and SRP to Talisay City and Minglanilla in the south.
PhilTram targets to make the MRT operational by 2020.
Sought for comment, the project implementation group of the BRT has expressed no qualms on the proposed MRT system.
For BRT project manager and lawyer Rafael Christopher Yap, if the monorail project connects with the SRP, it will complement the operations of the BRT.
Cebu City Administrator Engr. Nigel Paul Villarete, shared the sentiment, saying that the two transport systems are on entirely different corridors, with different ridership.
The BRT route comprises 11 kms. of segregated busways from Barangay Bulacao in the south, and Barangay Talamban in the north of Cebu City.
“The SRP to Mandaue corridor (for MRT) is a good corridor to study. That has already been identified under the Metro Cebu Public Transport Study and in fact, a pre-feasibility study has already been done. We should wait for their feasibility study to validate the economic internal rate of return values. The MRT can’t compete with the BRT’s viability,” Villarete said.
He added that if the proponents find that it’s feasible and they submit a proposal, it will have to go to the National Economic Development Authority (Neda)-Investment Coordination Committee for approval. (RTF)