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UP’s official pronouncement on the proposed AGT

September 2011
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I wrote about the proposal for a transit system at UP Diliman in a couple of posts where in one I included a figure of what was being put forward as a possible route for a loop at the Diliman campus. In another post, I included photos of the test track that was constructed at the DOST compound in Bicutan and featured a prototype vehicle that was more of a “confidence builder” than a viable transit vehicle. In the posts, I already articulated that a transit system such as an AGT or a monorail would most likely be not viable for an area like UP Diliman considering the limited demand and the prospect of having high maintenance costs. These are aside from the issues pertaining to social acceptability and other impacts of such a system on the campus. Perhaps an AGT or a monorail would be feasible elsewhere like how they are currently being used in CBDs or airports, where the demand would be enough to at least allow for decent revenues.

I’ve read a few articles including one that appeared a few days ago where it seemed to me that the writers were not really knowledgeable of what was going to be the collaboration between UP and DOST in as far as the transit prototype was concerned. Articles have even gone to the extent of saying farewell to the Ikot jeepneys as the primary mode of public transport when going around the campus. All these are mostly theoretical at best considering that perhaps road-based transport is still the best option for UP Diliman. We only need to ensure that such transport will be of the environmentally sustainable kind.

Meanwhile, UP’s official statement regarding what will really be constructed at the Diliman campus may be found at the university’s website. It is clear from the statement that a test track will be built and that a prototype will be tested to determine whether local designs actually work. This perhaps will be the basis for determining whether the system can be replicated elsewhere, even considering the prospects of scaling up where such transit may be applicable. Studies will also be able to validate the costs of a system since it is being touted as something that should be less costly than other systems that are already in operation elsewhere (i.e., other countries). For what its worth, a locally developed, cost-effective system will be a welcome option for many Philippine cities that badly need a modern public transport system.


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