New UP monorail coaches arrive

Filipinos had their first glimpse Sunday of a new monorail system to be piloted in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, which is hailed as "the future of mass transport systems made by Filipinos."

Photos of the Automated Guideway Transit System (AGTS) developed by UP and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) made rounds in social networking sites, after it was posted on Facebook by a group called Philippine Railways.

Shown in the photos are two train coaches which have arrived in UP Diliman Sunday, as well as parts of the 465-meter test track elevated at 6.1 meters, running from the campus' C.P. Garcia Avenue to Jacinto Street.

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The construction of the AGTS railway has began only after the P22-million contract was awarded in June to construction and engineering firm Miescor Builders Inc.

The test track will be used to "fine-tune the technology's mechanisms and operation, which include speed, stability, brake distance, and power, among others," the government's news agency reported in June.

If successful, the monorail system will be expanded to ply routes currently covered by several jeepneys in UP Diliman, including the famous "Ikot," which only travels around the campus in a loop.

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The project has also meanwhile been cited as a possible "home-grown mass transport solution that would cost us as little as P100 million per kilometer" by President Benigno Aquino III during his 2011 state of the nation address.

"The potential savings could result in more kilometers of cheap transport, decongesting our urban centers and allowing rural communities easier access to centers of commerce and industry," Aquino added.

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Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo was also earlier quoted as saying that the monorail system "will be the future of mass transport systems made by Filipinos."

This, as he enumerated countries countries currently benefitting from the AGTS technology including the United States, Japan, Singapore, and Canada.

"If these countries can do it, so can the Philippines," Montejo had said.