By Anna Valmero
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—A locally developed monorail system, which will be tested at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, is being eyed as a cheaper and safer alternative for mass transport in the country over the next few years.
Dubbed as the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT), the monorail system, to be developed the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), will ply the southern part of the UP Diliman campus in five to nine months, according to DoST chief Mario Montejo.
“The AGT is the future of cheap mass transport system. The train will include a pair of sixty-passenger coaches that will run along a 500-meter track inside the UP campus,” said Montejo, during the groundbreaking rites of the AGT site at the corners of Jacinto and Lakandula streets in UP Diliman.
Based on international studies, the monorail system is the “most cost-effective and less intrusive” mass transport for commuting countries like the Philippines, the DoST chief said.
“By locally developing the system, we would cut down costs to only 25 percent. For the UP monorail, we are allocating around P20 million,” Montejo said. The budget will include the building of the 500-meter long elevated track and the AGT train, at P16 million and P4 million, respectively.
As its name implies, the monorail will run on a single rail as its sole support and guideway and it will be powered by batteries and direct current. The DoST assures this project will not harm the environment nor trees will be cut at the UP Diliman campus.
Alongside the development of the AGT and throughout its trial running period at UP Diliman, feasibility studies will be conducted on the cost efficiency of running the system and its impact on commuters' behavior as well as the livelihood of campus jeepney drivers, said UP president Alfredo Pascual.
“Our long-term plan (for UP campus) is to allow electric vehicles as alternative mass transport to the monorail system as a means to prevent air pollution,” Pascual said.
Mechanical engineers and and software developers from UP will help to monitor and improve train operations and help expand the monorail to two kilometers.
“The monorail in UP will have a speed of 50 to 60 kilometers per hour similar to the MRT along Edsa. With the feasibility studies, we will also look into increasing its speeds by up to 100 to 120 km per hour,” added Montejo.
Montejo said it is up to the UP administration if it will charge a fare for commuters riding the monorail system.
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