‘Connect BRT to airport’

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014


THERE is a move to extend BRT services outside Cebu City, or beyond Bulacao in the south and Talamban in the north, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said yesterday.

“There are suggestions from Mactan Cebu International Airport General Manager Paul Villarete, who was also part of the team of former mayor Tomas Osmeña to push for BRT, to include Mandaue and Talisay,” Davide said yesterday, the day after he attended the MCIAA board meeting in Manila last July 1.

Villarete proposed a BRT project to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) when he then served as planning and development coordinator for Cebu City.

Villarete said he is again now proposing an MCIA-BRT express link to DOTC Sec. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo-Abaya in a letter received by the DOTC last June 23, 2014.

“We are respectfully requesting for project development studies, and subsequent roll-out, implementation and operation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) service to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport,” read his letter to Abaya.

He said this will be an express line going to the airport from the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and possibly Talisay.

Link

Villarete said the on-going detailed engineering design of the Cebu BRT, from Bulacao to Talamban, projects does not help much MCIA operations, since it is not linked to the airport.

He said what is needed is another link to the airport, coming from the mainland cities and connected to the first phase of the Cebu BRT.

Attached to his letter to Abaya was the “future network schematic diagram,” which shows the feasibility of the MCIA-BRT express link in relation to the whole Metro Cebu.

“Fortunately, there has already been a preliminary assessment of the Cebu BRT potential network, in the original pre-feasibility study of the project, which was funded by the Public-Private Infrastructure Assistance Facility (PPIAF) done by the World Bank,” Villarete stated in his letter. The pre-feasibility study costs the World Bank $365,000.

Since the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) has already approved the first phase of the BRT without the link to MCIA, Villarete is hoping that his link proposal be considered in the succeeding BRT phases.

The P10.6 billion BRT project the Neda approved last May 29, which will be operational in 2017 or 2018, includes a segregated bus lanes covering 16 kms. from Bulacao to Talamban in Cebu City.

Villarete urged chief executives to formalize their appeal to include their localities since the project is a Metro-wide system.

“I cannot propose for them, but I can propose for the airport,” he said.

During the BRT plan’s initial stage, Villarete said he was appealing to LGU’s to accept the project, but some are lukewarm, while others were opposed to the undertaking.

Manila BRT

The DOTC is also eyeing a BRT system in Metro Manila.

Abaya said his office is now proposing a Manila BRT to serve the Quezon Circle-Manila City Hall route.

The DOTC is now studying other possible BRT locations in Metro Manila.

“BRTs are game-changers. They are as effective as rail systems in terms of moving people around quickly and efficiently, but are much cheaper to build and are faster to develop. Since they will be granted as concessions, their riders will not be at the mercy of ‘colorum’ vehicles or transport strikes. They will be spared from unnecessary disruptions and unsafe travel conditions,” Abaya noted.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 03, 2014.

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