BAGUIO CITY – the possibility of deploying a locally developed mass transportation system technology in the summer capital and La Trinidad is promising with the completion of the feasibility study being undertaken by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC-DOST) in coordination with the University of the Philippines-National Center for Transportation Studies (UP-NCTS).
Sources say there is a high potential of operating an Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) System in the city and its adjoining municipalities as alternative mode of public transport under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Scheme under a Private-Public Partnership (PPP).
The AGT is a Filipino-designed mass public transport system suggested by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to solve the traffic woes of Baguio and La Trinidad proposing 5.2-kilometer railway that can ferry 720 passengers in six coaches.
The estimated cost is P1.2-billion and expected to cut down 15 minutes to almost an hour-long travel from the summer capital to La Trinidad passing thru the Balili River.
Initial reports for the AGT project came out in July this year which showed transportation problems being faced from Baguio City to La Trinidad such as congestion and rapid vehicle population increase, too many existing franchises on Public Utility Vehicles (PUV), duplicated lines of service routes, lack of off-street loading and unloading stations.
The team also observed problems in traffic management rules, smoke pollution, pedestrian-motorists conflicts, undisciplined drivers and pedestrians on the streets, lack of traffic enforcers to direct traffic especially along the Central Business District (CBD) during peak hours in the morning and afternoon.
Location of schools, hospitals and other commercial establishments along the CBD also contributes to traffic congestion and the lack of parking management strategy to effectively reduce the private vehicles, space for loading and unloading zones for private vehicles and the lack of implementing body and authority to manage all transport and traffic operations, rules and standards, engineering, and education of public transport operations was also observed.
As per reports, there are at least 1,437 jeepneys registered with different routes travelling from Baguio City to La Trinidad and vice versa.
A proposed 4 to 5.2 kilometers of elevated track along Balili River from La Trinidad to Baguio City was presented with four stations which will be located in the Provincial Capitol of La Trinidad, Kilometer 5 (BSU first gate), kilometer 4 and Slaughter House, Magsaysay, Baguio.
Estimated total cost for the proposed 120 seater coach AGT is 1.348 billion which includes development cost of proposed 6 coaches worth 66 million, developmental cost of 5.2 kilometer elevated track worth 1.122 billion and developmental cost of proposed 4 stations worth 160 million.
The projected annual fare revenues for the 10-year period for the AGT starting 2016 is P86,563,873,359.56 with annual ridership of 30,860,561 which would grow to P158,864,703,122.00 with annual ridership of 56,636,258 by 2026.
A proposed expansion of the project would also cover the adjoining municipalities of Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay.
Meanwhile, there are already proponents who have signified their interest in the AGT Project with the addition of Cable Cars if found viable/Paul Rillorta