Cable cars as a mode of transport in Cebu?

Cable car commute. Fortunato Sanchez Jr., president of Socor Construction Corp., shows a model of an Aerial Ropeway Transit (ART) or cable car system during a Regional Development Council meeting in Cebu City. The private firm is doing a pre-feasibility study for an ART as a mode of mass transport in Cebu. (SunStar Photo / Amper Campaña)

CEBU CITY (Updated with corrections) -- An Australian-Swiss firm is conducting a pre-feasibility study for an Aerial Ropeway Transit (ART) project for Cebu.

Fortunato Sanchez Jr., president of Socor Construction Corp., said the ART, commonly known as cable cars, is an ideal mode of mass transport in Cebu since it can complement the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems.

“Not all roads in Cebu are congested. That’s why we can mix the mode of transport. In those roads which are not so congested, we can put up ART. But in those roads where heavy traffic is usually felt, we can put up BRT or LRT,” said Sanchez.

It is also the safest mode of mass transport, he added.

Sanchez, who used to be the chairman of the infrastructure committee of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board, presented the proposed 20-kilometer ART during the Regional Development Council 7 fourth quarter full council meeting on Friday, Dec. 14.

Sanchez said there will be a nine-second interval between each cabin when it’s running. That means it is faster than the BRT and the LRT, he said.

“Cheaper, faster”

The ART has a passenger capacity of 4,000 per hour per direction, or equivalent to 200 jeepneys per hour. Each cabin, which can carry up to 10 passengers, will run 22 kilometers per hour. The 20-kilometer line will traverse the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu. Each kilometer of ART will cost between $20 million and $30 million.

If found feasible, Sanchez said, the project may be implemented through a Public-Private Partnership or a Build, Operate and Transfer scheme.

Sanchez, in his personal capacity, will back the pre-feasibility study.

The pre-feasibility study will determine in what particular areas in the three cities the ART line will be installed and how economically feasible the project is. It will also determine the fare rates, the total cost of the project and all other factors once the project will be implemented.

If feasible, Cebu will be the first to use the ART as a mode of mass transport in the country, although there is also an ongoing feasibility study for a line in Manila.

“There are cities in South America with similar economic standing like ours, and they are using this because it’s cheap,” Sanchez said.


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