Chinese firm exec finds Davao fit for monorail project

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 January) – A detailed feasibility study has yet to be conducted, but this early a representative from a state-owned Chinese railway developer said that Davao City is “fit for monorail” project.

Jiang Zhiping, planning and management deputy director of the market development center at the China Railway Engineering Consulting Group Co., said in a press conference on Monday that his group was keen on pursuing the project to ease traffic in downtown Davao.

“The monorail is almost the cheapest urban transit in cities. For China, monorail is very popular now and secondly, it does not occupy roads. The monorail is very light and the structure is very simple,” he said.

If it pushes through, he said the project will be the first undertaking of their company outside China.

He estimated that the project will take about three years – one year for engineering and planning and two years for the construction.

According to Bloomberg, the CREC is a company based in Beijing, China which operates as a subsidiary under China Railway Group Limited and offers engineering services.

CREC’s website said the company was the former Professional Institute of Ministry of Railway in China founded in February 1953.

“It is a large comprehensive survey and design group specializing in engineering survey, design, consultancy, construction supervision, general contracting, and scientific research and development,” it said.

Jose L. Guardo Jr., spokesperson of Philtram, the Filipino partner of the Chinese company in the Philippines, said the openness of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Chinese investors is the major factor that has attracted investors like CREC.

The city government and Philtram will sign a memorandum of understanding next month that will kick off the conduct of a business case and a feasibility study for the development of a monorail project, he said.

He added the company will shoulder the expenses for the conduct of a business case and detailed feasibility study which would cost about P11-P12 million and will take about a year to complete.

He said the monorail can run as fast as 80 km an hour.

The first phase will cost about P28 billion for a stretch of 14 km, he said.
Guardo said they are planning to charge passengers with P10 to P11 base fare plus P1 for every succeeding kilometer.

Guardo added the CREC constructs 30 percent of the high-speed trains and roads, and designs 80 to 90 percent of the monorail projects in China.

He said the proposed monorail will have two to eight coaches, can hold about 1,000 passengers at any given time, and will be constructed in four phases.

Although the project will be up for bidding through a public private partnership, Guardo said he is confident that they will be chosen as their proposal is more sustainable with a more forward-looking design.

He added they plan to put up a mall and parking space for each station and would cater to cargo and logistics at nighttime to subsidize the operations of the monorail.

Edward Geguerra, operations head of Philtram, said the terminal will cost about P500 million to P1billion while each kilometer will cost about P1 billion.

In phase 1, as proposed, he said that station 1 will be located at the junction of R. Castillo St. and J.P Laurel Avenue Ave.; station 2 at SM Lanang; station 3 at the Southern Philippine Medical Center; station 4 at Abreeza of the Ayala Malls; station 5 at Gaisano Mall of Davao going until the Duterte Central Station at Roxas Avenue.

Station 1 of phase 2 is planned to be at Quirino Avenue.; station 2 at Bankerohan; station 3 at NCCC Mall of Davao in Ma-a; station 3 at the junction of General Douglas MacArthur Highway and Quimpo Boulevard Diversion Road; station 4 at SM Ecoland; station 5 at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal; and station 6 either near the office of the Land Transportation Office (LTO 11) or Davao City Recreation Center, also along Quimpo Blvd.; and then back to Duterte Central Station at Roxas Avenue.

Phase 3 will connect the junction of General Douglas MacArthur Highway and Quimpo Boulevard Diversion Road to station 1 at the Matina Crossing; and then to station 2 in Bangkal, station 3 in Ulas, and the proposed South Bus Terminal in Toril.

Gaguerra said planning for phase 4 is still in the works but they wanted to link it up with the proposed North Bus Terminal in Panacan.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. president Ronald Go said in a text message that any transport system that will “unclutter or decongest our roads will always be a welcome development in the business community.”

He said that a mass transit system such as a monorail will help make more possible the expeditious delivery of goods and services, benefiting both the businesses and the riding public.

Earlier, Davao City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Cortez said wanted to know if the market size of the city would sustain the operations of the monorail.

“The best indicator of development of a certain locality is when the public uses mass transit instead of cars because it means your transit system is effective and efficient,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)