By GABRIEL S. MABUTAS
MANILA, Philippines — The government’s effort is now in progress to develop the first-ever Filipino railway system, in line with its bid to reduce traffic and address the problem of overcrowding in mass transport, Department of Science and Technology (DoST) Secretary Mario Montejo disclosed on Tuesday.
He said they are already in the initial phase of developing the country’s very own rail-based local mass transit, which would eventually be tested around the University of the Philippines (UP) campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
As soon as it is developed, the DoST chief said, the new mode of transportation would be plying around the university to ferry passengers, while showcasing the green sights inside the sprawling campus.
The system DoST intends to develop is similar to the MRT and LRT, except that it runs on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and guideway.
Formally called the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT), the local mass transit promises to make a tour around the Diliman campus easier, faster, and safer.
“We are coming up with a local AGT to address the problem of overcrowding in our mass transports. This is how we would want local science and technology work, to respond to the people’s needs,” Montejo said.
The DoST and UP laid the ground for the country’s first local prototype of AGT through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Dec. 6, 2010 at UP Diliman.
The MoU formalizes the intent of both the DoST and UP to establish a prototype of AGT, consisting of two 60-passenger coaches, to traverse a two-kilometer test track inside the campus.
Currently, travelling around UP Diliman is somewhat confusing due to the distance between the colleges.
Some students come in late in their classes while a newbie gets lost not only because of distance but also due to the campus’ intricate route.
With the coming of the AGT, hopping from point to point will definitely come easier.
“DoST and UP’s pitch for the AGT has many good reasons. Firstly, the AGT requires very minimal as it is usually elevated, leaving the university’s environment undisturbed. Secondly, it costs less to build, and its track is definitely cheaper compared with other railway transportations,” Montejo said.
He said developing the AGT locally will cost only a fifth compared with the price of importing one.
Montejo said that with its compact size, AGT does not completely block landscapes and the skyline.
As it has its own route and track, he added, it will not interfere with the existing transport modes, and will be traffic- and accident-free.
To set the AGT project in motion, the DoST is designing the detailed engineering plan and preparing the framework and schedule of activities, among others.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
By GABRIEL S. MABUTAS