A multi-billion project is set to fast track not just the decongestion of Cebu’s worsening traffic condition but also, to speed up the growth of the region’s booming economy.
The Cebu Monorail Project is part and is eyed to be the main feature of the planned Cebu intermodal transportation system that integrates a monorail, a cable car, and a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT), to provide Cebuanos efficient public transportation projects.
Udenna Infrastructure which had originally proposed a light rail transit (LRT) system, was granted original proponent status (OPS) for the proposed Cebu Rail Project in December 2018. It is chaired by Davao City-based businessman, Dennis Uy.
“We need to improve and modernize the public transport system of Cebu City and the Province of Cebu and in various places in Region 7,” said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade during the inauguration of the new building of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) in Cebu.
He further said Cebuanos can expect partial operability of this monorail project before the end of 2021.
In his speech during last year’s Sinulog Festival, President Rodrigo Duterte said that Cebu should prioritize building its infrastructure and mass transportation systems to keep up with the island’s economic development.
THE MONORAIL PROJECT COMPOSITION
Cebu Monorail Project involves the construction and development of two lines – Central Line and Airport Line – and collectively has a span of approximately 27-kilometer rail transit system. It is pegged at a whopping PHP77.57-billion.
The Central Line will cover 17.7 kilometers from Talisay City to Cebu City, while the Airport Line will cover about 9.3 kilometers from Cebu City to the Mactan Cebu International Airport on Mactan Island. Both lines will converge at an interchange that will be established in Cebu City. These two lines are planned to be simultaneously implemented.
A 5-hectare depot facility is to be built close to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
The monorail is designed to hold 12,000 to 15,000 passengers per direction per hour. It will first focus on the highly urbanized areas before expanding to cover the entire Metro Cebu.
MONORAIL, NOT LRT
Contrary to what has been widely circulated, the rapid transit system that will be established in Cebu will be a monorail, not a light rail transit (LRT).
Monorail has a distinctive technology that is fast to construct and has the same passenger-carrying capacity and operational efficiency with that of the LRT system. It runs on a single rail and is usually elevated.
Using the monorail technology, the project cost will be brought down to about P80 billion, half of the estimated cost of an LRT system, said Manuel Jamonir, assistant vice president for operations and business development manager of Udenna Infrastructure.
Japan has earned the distinction of having a good number of transit monorails existing, eight of which are full-scale urban transit systems. Aside from US and Japan, monorails have also been a transport system in Malaysia, Europe, Russia, Korea, China, Brazil, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.
CEBU’S WORSENING TRAFFIC CONDITION
In October 2019, the Cebu provincial government declared a traffic crisis over the entire island.
To date, there is still no efficient mass transportation system in Cebu despite it being a metropolitan area of over 2.5 million people. Commuters rely on the traditional buses, taxis, jeeps, tricycles and motorcycles-for-hire for their everyday mobility.
And while Cebu’s economy has risen to become one of the fastest growing in the country, becoming a center for property development, outsourcing industry and tourism, its worsening traffic congestion has also been costing the economy billions of losses daily.
To address this, Metro Cebu has been intensifying its public transportation and infrastructure projects. In fact, Cebu City government has started its own point-to-point (P2P) service called Beep, which has designated stops across the city. Private companies like SM and Robinsons also have their P2P buses between commercial establishments and landmarks to help reduce vehicular traffic.
During the governorship of Emilio Osmeña Jr. from 1988 to 1992, Cebu saw an economic growth outpacing that of the country. The progress during Osmeña’s time was later known as “Ceboom.”
It is no doubt that with the introduction of the Cebu Monorail Project, the world will soon witness an economy fast tracking its way towards global competence.
CeBoom – just like that of the 90s – but this time, in an international spotlight.