BY GEROME DALIPE IV
ILOILO City – The feasibility study on the proposed suspended transport system in the metropolis is expected to commence very soon.
The city government and Futran Philippines, Inc. have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the conduct of a feasibility study for the P16-billion project dubbed as “Green People Mover” last Jan. 30.
The agreement was referred to the Iloilo City Council for confirmation. Accompanied by Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon and the city councilors, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas and Futran Philippines president Jose Christopher “Joey” Fornier II signed the deal in the former’s office.
With the signing of the agreement, Treñas said the city government will provide the necessary data to Futran including a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and updated population of the city, among others.
“This game-changing investment is a testament to the power of public-private partnership in uplifting people’s lives,” said Treñas after signing the deal.
Podcars, also known as personal rapid transit, is a mode of public transport featuring small low-capacity automated vehicles operating on a network of specially built guideways.
On its website, Frutran describes the podcar system as an easy and safe transport system that enables low-cost mass transit. The podcars are suspended vehicles with a capacity for eight to 20 passengers each depending on city requirements. This enables a system with a very high capacity per hour and stations one kilometer or less apart.
The company ensures that its products are safe and reliable as it is under the approval of Germany’s TUV Rheinland, the world’s recognized technical service provider and certification body.
Fornier explained the cars are suspended on top of the roads and would run similarly to trains although they had tracks and would run on-demand.
The proposed transportation system won’t also obstruct existing traffic on the road, thus it can blend into the city, said Fornier. The system will use solar energy; hence, solar panels will be placed on top of each beam to power every car.
In the agreement, Futran pointed out that the city’s traffic congestion and increasing working population make the demand for a mass transit system or what is called a “Green People Mover” project.
Futran said the feasibility study aims to determine the “technical and financial viability” of constructing such a mass transport system in the city.
The study covers all the necessary pre-development, engineering or technical, environmental, social marketing or social acceptability, financial and economic, legal, and organizational studies to determine the technical, financial, economic, and institutional feasibility of the project.
The study is expected to be completed within six months from the signing of the deal. During the period, the city shall provide Futron with the available data and information relevant to the conduct of the study.
If found feasible, Futran and the city government agreed to undertake the necessary steps to realize the project.
Futran Philippines is not the first company that offers to establish public mass transport in Iloilo City.
In March 2023, First Balfour Inc. proposed to develop an e-vehicle (EV) bus rapid transit (BRT) in Iloilo City to complement the city government’s efforts in making the city environmentally sustainable and a livable, highly urbanized metropolis.
Representatives from First Balfour Inc., a leading engineering and construction company in the country, presented to Treñas their proposal which is seen to be a step-change in the Ilonggos’ commuting experience.
Antonio S. Payumo, First Balfour’s vice president, said they would like to provide an end-to-end transport solution that ties in and integrates various elements of EV transport such as passenger information, ticketing systems, and timetable scheduling, thus giving passengers a seamless, reliable and clean transport experience.
The EV BRT as a low-carbon urban transport system is seen to not only reduce traffic congestion but also contribute to the development of the local economy while having a positive impact on the environment.
According to Payumo, they will utilize a mix of 12m and 18m articulated buses on a test-pilot basis./PN