Fare, routes top commuters’ issues-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
WHILE some Cebu City residents support the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, others still doubt if it is the most effective and economical way of decongesting the streets.
Commuters also raised concerns on the fares, routes and distance between bus stops, as jeepney drivers worried about their survival once the BRT is in place.
In random interviews with city residents and commuters yesterday, some asked how the City Government will fund the project, considering that it also has to fund housing, education and health programs.
Others also pointed out the need to widen the roads so these can accommodate the buses.
Since the initial proposed route is N. Bacalso Ave.-Osmeña Blvd.-Escario St.-Cebu Business Park-Talamban, some commuters lamented that buses would not reach residential areas.
“The BRT seems like a good transport system but it still has its disadvantages as far as commuters are concerned. It will cause delay because if the bus doesn’t stop at the spot where we want to get off, then we will have to walk,” said Rose Vasquez, who takes the Bulacao route in her daily commute.
Students believe the BRT will help them get to their schools faster. The bus ride will also be more convenient compared to the jeepney.
“The BRT system is better. It is faster and more convenient for us commuters,” college students Reizel Abot and Janine Caballero told Sun.Star Cebu.
But while convenience and comfort count, the fare rates will also be a major consideration for some students.
Ritchel Borines, a college student, said: “Naguol ko sa plete, kay wala pa ko kahibaw pila. If pareha ra sa plete sa jeep, okay ra kaayo (I’m just worried about the fare because I don’t know yet how much a bus ride will cost. If the fare is the same as that of the jeepney, then it’s fine with me).”
One of the challenges of the government, aside from setting up the infrastructure of the BRT, is educating the public on how the system works.
Some commuters interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu said they will support the proposed BRT if they know what the system is all about.
“Mas maayo unta if kahibaw mi kung unsa gyud na siya. Kulang man gud ang public sa information, bisag gamay lang unta (It will be better if we know what a BRT is.
At present, there is a lack of awareness on what the BRT is),” Julie Nacario, a commuter, lamented.
Nacario’s concern will be addressed when the Cebu City Government holds exhibitions on the BRT in major malls in Cebu City so that the public can learn more about it. It will also be a venue where commuters and other stakeholders can air their sentiments on the BRT system.
The BRT works like the train system, but uses buses instead of train coaches and bus lanes instead of train tracks.
The buses are stairless. Passengers pay at the specially designed bus stations in the middle of the road, accessible through pedestrian lanes or overhead walkways.
In the proposal of the Integrated Transport Planning, the City Government’s consultant in the BRT project, the buses will carry up to 80 passengers each.
Now that the feasibility study for the BRT is about to be concluded, drivers of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) are apprehensive about their future.
Lito Cauba, 50, has been a PUJ driver for 21 years, and is one of those against the proposed mass transport system.
“Wala man ta’y mahimo if mao nay gusto nila kun dili ang mosunod. Pero kung kami lang ang pabut-on, dili ko (If that is what they want, we can’t do anything, we have to follow. But if it were up to us, I don’t want the BRT to operate,” he said.
Cauba said that driving a PUJ is the only way he can feed his family. Once the BRT is in place, there is a possibility that he would lose his livelihood, he said.
“Naglisod man gani mi karon nga wala pa na, unsa na lang kaha kon naa na (We can barely survive even without the BRT; how much more if the buses compete with PUJs?),” Cauba added.
A PUJ driver usually starts his day at 5 a.m. and goes home at 8 p.m., bringing home about P200 to P400 for his family’s needs.
Cauba expects that some of the PUJ drivers will be given a chance to drive the buses, but he is sure that there won’t be enough buses to drive for all PUJ drivers who might lose their livelihood. (Angelica Fay M. Saniel, USJ-R Intern)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 21, 2012.