THE government contractor that was commissioned to build the guideway for the country’s first all-Filipino monorail has already starting work on the P21.6-million automated guideway transit system that will be tested before the end of the year.
The contractor, Miescor Builders Inc., started diggings for the elevated test tracks a week before the ceremonial awarding rites at Manila Traders Hotel on Tuesday. The monorail is a project of the Department of Science and Technology.
Engineer Jonathan Puerto of the DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center said the test track is being built at an empty lot in the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
“We expect to finish the construction within four or five months, or by October or November, then we can have the actual tests using the coaches,” said Puerto, stressing that the tests are necessary to finetune the system’s mechanisms and operation, including speed, stability, brake distance and power, among others.
Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo said the AGTS is the first of several high-impact technology solutions that is being developed by the department for the public transportation sector.
Montejo said many countries are already reaping benefits from their own AGTS technologies, including the United States, Japan, Singapore and Canada. “If these countries can do it, so can the Philippines,” the secretary said.
Montejo said the guideway of the monorail will stand at an elevation of 6.1 meters supported by high-quality concrete material, while the train body will be composed of two coaches, each capable of carrying 30 people.
The coaches will roll on rubber tires instead of metal wheels to minimize track noise, and will have bogies to ensure comfort and stability.
Aside from being locally developed, Montejo said the monorail is envisioned to be non-polluting, reliable and safe because it cannot be derailed or cause road accidents, aside from helping reduce traffic congestion.
Puerto said the 465-meter demonstration track will be at the largely vacant UP lot between the Commission on Higher Education building on C.P. Garcia Avenue and the College of Fine Arts on Emilio Jacinto Street.
After the pilot tests at UP, Puerto said the DOST will conduct other feasibility studies before the DOST alternative mass transport system goes public.
“We will also delve on the economies especially the cost efficiency of running the system, engineered by the DOST,” Puerto said, adding that the monorail will be much cheaper than light rail transits due to its components.
(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/June/21)