One Monday afternoon after a coverage, when I was about to hail a UP Ikot jeep, a family of 3 caught my attention. It was a few minutes past one. The mother and her 2 sons had been waiting under the scorching heat for their ride around the campus.
They were actually waiting for the guard to open the gate to the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT), a train prototype built at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus. The train operators had just finished their lunch break.
I had to take the train too!
The train has been open to the public since June 1, offering free rides from the first station near CP Garcia, to the second station near the Fine Arts building of UP Diliman.
I overheard the mother say she had been on the train before, but that Monday, she brought along her 2 sons who were still in their school uniforms. They did not mind the almost 20-minute wait for the train to resume operations.
Because there is only one concrete guideway, the train station first had to travel from Station 2 to Station 1 to pick us up. There are safety rails separating the train from the platform, ensuring passengers are safe while waiting.
Another family of 3 – a mother, a father, and their child – was already making the most out of the free ride, going back and forth between the two stations when we entered the train.
The train, which has two cars that can carry up to 30 people each, is clean and fully-airconditioned. It has an average speed of 30 km per hour.
One train run is equivalent to a full track length of 469 meters. The ride was not as smooth compared to the MRT and LRT, but it offered a different, refreshing view of the UP Diliman campus.
The AGT is an answer to both the need to convey more people faster and for a mode of transportation that does not contribute to pollution. This rapid mass transit produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. (READ: UP, DOST to design cheaper train after test run)
It was developed by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It is designed as an alternative elevated transport system to address the worsening vehicular traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
As the public demonstration ends on June 30, research and development will continue so that DOST can come up with:
- a passenger station
- safety features
- a communication and fare system
The ride itself was more or less 5 minutes long – shorter than our waiting time – but one of the boys I rode with urged her mother: “Sige na, ’Ma, isa pa.” (Come on, Mom, let’s ride it one more time.)
The mother happily obliged. – Rappler.com
The AGT is open until June 30, from 9 am to 3 pm, with lunch breaks from 12 nn to 1 pm.
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