Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project

The people of Cebu can look forward to using a new public transport system soon, as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is aiming for the partial operation of the much-awaited Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) before the end of 2021.

Also Read: Cebu Monorail Project: Coming Soon

During a meeting held in Cebu on January 20, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade had ordered “round-the-clock” construction of the Cebu BRT, stressing the urgent need for better mobility, especially amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project
Image Credit: @CebuCityBRT / Facebook

What is Cebu BRT

The Cebu BRT is a planned mass transport system located in Metro Cebu. It is expected to be the first of its kind – an operational bus rapid transit system – in the Philippines.

Compared to a traditional bus system, a bus rapid transit features greater capacity and mobility. It involves roads that are dedicated to buses, thus avoiding the usual traffic, as well as enhanced payment systems for everybody’s convenience. In terms of speed and efficiency, a bus rapid transit can be comparable to that of a metro, although at a much lower cost of operations.

An initiative of the DOTr, the Cebu BRT is part of the planned Integrated Intermodal Transportation System (IITS) in Cebu. Aside from a bus rapid transit, this mega-project also includes a monorail system and a cable car system – all of which would help improve public transportation and address the worsening traffic in the province.

Benefits of Cebu BRT

According to DOTr Secretary Tugade, the Cebu BRT will:

  1. improve passenger mobility in the province;
  2. offer a transport option that is quick, convenient, affordable, and efficient; and
  3. generate fewer emissions, which, in turn, would help reduce local and global pollution.

Cebu BRT Features

The Cebu BRT will span a 13.2-kilometer bus rapid transit lane, traversing South Road Properties (SRP) through Mambaling, towards Cebu IT Park. It will consist of 17 stations, 2 terminals, and 1 depot. Buses will run along dedicated lanes in the middle of the road. Stations will also be placed in the middle of the road, accessible by footbridges and pedestrian crossings.

In addition, the project will be complemented by a 20.2-kilometer bus feeder system, which will operate with mixed traffic. Specifically, there will be bus stops or shelters along these routes: Talisay-SRP, Mambaling-Bulacao, and Cebu IT Park-Talamban.

Construction for the Cebu BRT will be done in 2 phases. The first phase will start from N. Bacalso Avenue near South Bus Terminal, up to the Provincial Capitol. The second phase will cover Bulacao, Talisay City in the southern part of Cebu, up to Talamban in the northern part.

The PHP 16.5 billion BRT project is expected to be fully operational by March 2022. Upon completion, the Cebu BRT would be able to serve around 60,000 passengers daily.

Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project

Latest Updates on Cebu BRT

On 20 January 2021, a meeting was held along with the inauguration of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) in Cebu. During the meeting, DOTr Secretary Tugade stated that he wants Package 1 of the Cebu BRT to be partially operational this year.

Package 1 of the Cebu BRT includes a 2.6-kilometer bus way, 4 stations, major intersection improvements, and some “urban realm enhancements.” It is now on the procurement stage, with construction set to begin this April.

After being updated on the project, Secretary Tugade ordered the Cebu BRT project management team, along with other transport officials, to carry out a 24/7 or round-the-clock construction schedule. This will include 3 work shifts, thus generating jobs for Cebu’s local residents.

“We need to improve and modernize the public transport system of Cebu City and the Province of Cebu and in various places in Region 7,” the Secretary said during the meeting. He also assured the people of Cebu that President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration is dedicated to resolving the problem of transportation and traffic congestion in Cebu City.

Jobs for Cebu Residents

The DOTr chief emphasized that the project contractor, as well as key personnel of the Cebu BRT project, should be based in Cebu. He also stressed that majority or 90 percent of the total workforce should be local residents of Cebu province.

“While I’m addressing our program of projects, I am addressing the need of the economy and I’m addressing the requirements of the pandemic,” declared Secretary Tugade during the meeting, as reported by a DOTr press release.

“These are extraordinary times,” he said. “They need extraordinary processes.” The chief was referring to the people of Cebu, especially those who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. He stated the need to generate jobs, and the BRT project is one such opportunity. He also mentioned that because of the project, “the national economy will blossom with the local economy.”

Other than Secretary Tugade, also present during the meeting were: DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry De Guzman; Chief of Staff/Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez; BRT Project Head and Philippine Railway Institute (PRI) Executive Director Undersecretary Anneli R. Lontoc; Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor; LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III; Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante; and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco.

Fast-Tracking Cebu BRT

Notably, in another meeting, the DOTr chief discussed the status of Cebu’s infrastructure projects, including the BRT, with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino. Both officials agreed on the need to fast-track these projects amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We thank and appreciate the efforts of the DOTr to fast-track the implementation of the various infrastructure projects here in the Visayas, especially the Cebu BRT, for they will be a great help to ease the transport concerns of our kababayans,” OPAV Secretary Dino stated.

“Our office is willing to provide whatever assistance we may extend to ensure the expeditious completion of these crucial projects,” he added.

Indeed, efficient transportation is an important part of the economy. Through the Cebu BRT and other infrastructure projects, we can expect the local economy to move forward, despite the pandemic. And with this, the national and global economy are likely to benefit as well.

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