Cebu City legislator wants return of railway

Cebu City Hall
Cebu City HallPhoto by Yans Baroy

A CEBU City official is asking the transportation department to study the feasibility of establishing a railway system in Cebu City.

City Councilor Rey Gealon, who also chairs the Cebu City’s Traffic Management and Coordination Committee, said it should be something similar to the rail transport system in Singapore.

Gealon authored a resolution for that purpose, and it was approved by the City Council during its regular session on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024.

Gealon, in a message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, March 3, said an elevated railway may be established from Barangay Bulacao in the south district to Barangay Mabolo in the north district, covering the entire stretch of N. Bacalso Ave. within the city’s jurisdiction.

Other railway lines may also be established on other major routes, including the stretch of Pope John Paul Ave., Gen. Maxilom Ave., Gorordo Ave., Osmeña Blvd., Escario St., and Archbishop Reyes Ave. towards the Banilad-Talamban corridor.

He said these thoroughfares have the most ridership based on the traffic count and data of the Cebu City Transportation Office following time and motion studies conducted.

Thus, he said, these areas need an efficient and reliable public transportation system.

Gealon, in his resolution, said railways promote economic growth while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

He described railways as “climate-smart and efficient way” to move people and freight.

“They are a clean and compact way to move millions of passengers and millions of tons of goods across countries and continents,” he said.

The local legislator said the establishment of a railway system will benefit not only Cebu City residents, but also local and foreign tourists, as it will also help improve the transport system of the city.

Considering there is an ongoing construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along Osmeña Blvd. and a portion of the N. Bacalso Ave., Gealon said he will leave the design to the DOTr to integrate both mass transportation systems.

“We’ll leave the design to DOTr to make both transportation system coordinated and intermodal. The more mass transport in the city, the better for Cebuanos,” he said.

Last Feb. 29, DOTr officials led by Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan met with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to present the Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan, which included the reintroduction of the railway system to Cebu.

Cebu used to have a railway that ran from Argao in the south to Danao in the north from 1911 to 1942. It was operated by the Philippine Railway Company.

The railway service was discontinued when the rails and its carriages were severely damaged during the Second World War. / JJL


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