Study on monorail project in Davao City starts in March

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 Jan) — A feasibility study on the first monorail project in Davao City will start in March to address the worsening traffic condition in downtown area, a City Hall official said.

Ivan Cortez, head of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) said in an interview Thursday that they received an inquiry from a Chinese investor who signified interest in linkung up with a local developer to put up a monorail in the city “with a capacity bigger than the bus” but smaller than the Manila Metro Rail Transit System and Manila Light Rail Transit System in the national capital.

Davao City Planning and Development (CPDO) head Ivan Cortez holds the proposed design of a monorail project in Davao City. If the project pushes through, it will be the city’s first monorail project. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

The monorail is different from the proposed Mindanao Railway System that would connect the major cities of the island such as Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, and Davao.

He said the Chinese investor, whom he declined to name for now, will ask the City Council to allow them do a feasibility study and get the necessary information on how large is the potential of the city for a monorail project and what capacity will be put up here.

“They want to know which route is more viable and the number of coaches or passenger carriage to put up whether it will sustainable to put up monorail with a capacity of 20,000 per travel. Through the study, they will determine how much will be invested initially and the operational capacity,” he said.

Cortez said a monorail is more viable in the downtown area as they can put up more stations at two kilometer intervals and is 90 times cheaper than the MRT or LRT.

Although the route has yet to be determined, Cortez said they want the monorail in downtown Davao to loosen up the traffic.

“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.

Cortez said investors will complete the study expectedly one year at the latest as they could utilize the previous studies conducted on a railway project for the city.

He expressed optimism that a monorail system is more viable as it is “90 times cheaper” as compared to a bigger rail transit system.

He said the Korean Engineering Company (KEC) from South Korea which had earlier proposed to tie up with the city for a monorail project has revived its plan to pursue its stalled project.

Cortez said plan did not push through then because KEC asked for a counterpart investment from the city.

“We told them that we cannot forward their project to the national government because it required government subsidy but (as per government policy) every unsolicited proposal should be at no cost for the city,” he said.

He said the South Korean group visited the city three weeks ago and informed the city that it will no longer pursue the project but explore the possibility of a tie up with the national government. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)