‘Ikot’ jeeps won’t be phased out
SAY GOODBYE to the “Ikot?”
Sectors affected by the monorail train undergoing technical testing in UP Diliman (UPD) Friday denied reports claiming the system would replace the “Ikot” (around), the Diliman commuter’s term for the short jeepney ride network within the campus.
“They are unfounded, just pure speculation,” UP vice president for development Elvira Zamora told the Inquirer.
Zamora was referring to reports naming the monorail train as the “Ikot of the future,” insinuating that the jeepney was about to be replaced by the new “threat.”
The reports cited a photo from the Facebook page of Philippine Railways, a railway enthusiasts’ group, mapping the supposed route spanning the entire campus.
Ikot drivers also discounted talks of their future phaseout. In an interview, UP Ikot Drivers Association president Cesar Sta. Maria said, “When the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs consulted with us, she assured us there was no threat and it was only a test drive.”
The All UP Workers Union (AUPWU) gave the monorail train the benefit of the doubt as well.
“This is not the time to claim the transport sector is threatened because there are no jeep routes jeopardized by the project’s current structure,” union president Noel Marquina said.
The construction of the monorail began in June. The current experimentation track runs 465 m from the Commission on Higher Education to the College of Fine Arts.
The train has two adjoining coaches, each carrying 35 passengers, and is elevated 6.1 m by concrete pillars.
It will run at 50-60 kph and will use rubber tires to minimize track noise.
Project design head engineer Brian Rasco said the team is currently focused on technical testing.
Zamora also added that no passenger will ride the AGT during its current testing phase.
The team had no definite timeline about when the technical testing will be over, but the office of the vice president had already granted them an extension to stay within the campus.
“This is only a research and development project. And it is not for Diliman, but for the Philippines,” Zamora said.
In the long term, the DOST sees the monorail as a complement rather than a replacement for the jeepney.
“Jeeps need not be phased out and monorail trains will only serve as aids to them,” Rasco said.
Sta. Maria echoed Rasco’s sentiment. “It may alter our routes, but we will still be here,” he said.
Another AUPWU official who requested anonymity said the project was not a pressing need and funds used for it should have been channeled instead to the academe.
University Student Council community rights and welfare committee head Marky Tagala said the community remained wary of the project.
“We sense that despite repeated denials, the UP administration is experimenting with monorail trains because it plans to adopt it in the future,” he said.
Tagala quoted the UP administration statement: “The results of the test run, if favorable, will determine the next phase of the project: A full 6.9 km intracampus loop.”
“When it does happen, the UP Campus-Philcoa jeeps will be most affected,” Sta. Maria said.
UP Campus-Philcoa jeeps travel the Philcoa-University Avenue-Academic Oval-Guerrero Street-Laurel Avenue-Roces Avenue-and back to Philcoa route, not any different from the supposed route mapped by Philippine Railways.
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