DOTr eyes Marikina-Ortigas cable car line

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — In a bid to find solutions to help passengers bear the burden of their daily commute, the government is eyeing an alternative way to beat traffic in Metro Manila - by air.

Urban planners are looking at a mass cable car system as a solution to traffic congestion in Metro Manila - dubbed as the “most congested” city in developing Asia, according to a recent study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Transportation officials revealed to CNN Philippines that they are studying to build it from the LRT 2 Santolan station in Marikina City to the Ortigas business district in Pasig, with its stations mostly traversing the Marikina River.

Cable cars were one of the transportation solutions discussed at the Urban Transport for Livable Cities forum at the ADB on Monday.

Planner Steven Dale said cable cars are a less expensive technology than other alternatives and can be implemented quickly.

" It can be implemented within a year. More complicated systems take two to three years... In most cities where cable car systems have been introduced there’s been a very positive impact in the neighborhoods that they have serviced," he said.

There are three different types of cable cars; one of these types — the aerial tram — can carry up to 200 people in a single trip but with longer interval between cars.

However, others said cable car systems are not suited for areas with extremely high passenger demand like EDSA, but it may be best built as supplement to mass transit like the LRT.

The government is currently in the final stages of the feasibility study for the proposed Metro Manila cable car system, and the French government has given a P27-million grant for this.

Transportation Undersecretary Garry De Guzman said, "It’s on the third phase already. Anyway it would be concluded within the year."

There are concerns, however, whether a mass cable car system would be feasible in a country like the Philippines where typhoons are common.

Cable car designer Jim Fletcher said, "They can be built for whatever survival wind is prevalent in the area where they are being constructed... In a typhoon area, we would design the structures and provide mechanisms to tie the cable down when a typhoon came along."