Baguio-La Trinidad monorail system finds backer

MANILA, Philippines – Good tidings at the end of the year, as the ambitious monorail system for Baguio and La Trinidad just found a new backer.

San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SHMC) is interested in the proposed Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) system connecting Baguio City, particularly its central business district, and La Trinidad, said executive director Mila Rimando of the National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera (NEDA-CAR).

Rimando said that SMHC, through its infrastructure arm, the Private Infrastructure Development Corporation (PIDC), is keen on supporting the project, with PIDC President Mark Dumol attending their recent briefing.

"After the near-completion of the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway), they are now interested in developing the tourism of Baguio," Rimando said.

She also said that the feasibility study for the monorail, which was assigned to the Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera (DOST-CAR), was already submitted to her. (READ: Monorail to ease traffic in Baguio City – study)

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo directed DOST-CAR to fast-track the feasibility study to help boost the local tourism industry and address traffic and air pollution in the area.

Rimando said that the project, initially budgeted at P1.4 billion, may cost as much as P5 billion, according to the DOST study.

The project is expected to cover the construction of the 5.2-kilometer railing system, from the Slaughterhouse Compound along Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio City to the Benguet Capitol in La Trinidad.

It also includes the purchase of coaches which is said to seat 120 passengers per coach. At expected 6 coaches per travel, the monorail has a maximum carrying capacity of 720 passengers per travel.

There will be at least 14 stops for the AGT route with two lines, the Baguio-Central Business District line and the Baguio-La Trinidad line.

The Baguio-CBD line will include stops at the Bonifacio rotunda, Center Mall/Magsaysay, Junction Harrison/Magsaysay, Abad Santos Drive, Junction Gov. Pack Road, UP Baguio, and Luneta Hill.

The Baguio-La Trinidad line, meanwhile, will have stations at Capitol area, junction to Strawberry Field, Pico-Puguis Road junction, Puregold, Bell Tower, Junction in Bokawkan, and the Slaughterhouse.

The study said the coaches are expected to accomodate 300,000 passengers for the Baguio CBD and 100,000 for the Baguio-La Trinidad route.

Monorail image from Shutterstock