Rapid transit not viable in city, yet-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
THE head of the Davao Sustainable Urban Transport Project said they are pursuing the highly prioritized bus service for the next five to 10 years in Davao City, while finding the much touted bus rapid transit as close to impossible in the medium term.
"Our conclusion is that if you consider that Bankerohan Bridge, you have 7,851 passengers to carry at peak hour period then you probably can't do it with a conventional bus service because it does not have enough capacity. You could do it with a highly prioritized bus service (HPBS) and a bus rapid transit (BRT) system," said Geoff Key of Halcrow during the Davao Sustainable Urban Transport Project: Comprehensive Public Transport Reform for Davao City Forum on Monday at the Marco Polo Hotel.
Bus priority is a name for various techniques to improve service and reduce delay for mass transit vehicles at intersections.
Key pointed out that the conventional bus service, with a maximum operation of 60 passengers, is able to accommodate only 7,200 passengers per hour per direction while HPBS, with a maximum operation of 90 passengers can accommodate 10,800 passengers per hour per direction.
But, Key was quick to add that the problem with BRT is that the capacity is much more than the city will need, plus, there is simply no space for it.
"The BRT needs at least 25 meters road width including the system road. And you don't have the 25 meters, you can almost forget the BRT system in the short to medium term," Key said, as the only available right-of-way (ROW) is 15.4 meters and he added that buying lands to increase the ROW is not an option since land is already expensive.
He added that the higher the needed capacity the more expensive the project will be.
Based on their study, they are proposing high and low floor large, midi, and articulated buses.
The large and mini buses would fit some narrow roads in places like Catalunan Grande while articulated buses can carry people but they won't fit in most streets in Davao. Key explained that if there will be articulated buses, it would definitely need its own track and Davao lacks the space for it.
"You have to balance space, cost, and capacity," Key said.
The study began sometime in 2010 and 2011 wherein an initial study on sustainable urban transport for the city was done. This year they are on Policy and Advisory Technical Assistance (Pata) stage of emphasis on strategy and institutional strengthening. From September to October of this year, they will be conducting capacity development activities for the stakeholders then by November they will be releasing the final report and have the final workshop for stakeholders.
The Pata is funded by the Japan fund for Poverty Reduction and led by a team of international and local consultants from Asia Halcrow and Transport and Traffic Planners (TTPI) Inc.
The project aims to plan and implement public transport system improvements and reforms, aimed at increased efficiency, and economic and social benefits; ensure meaningful stakeholder participation; focus on stakeholder capacity development and training; and to identify any negative social consequences and ensure mitigation and support measures are in place.
The project is expected to be finished sometime 2015 or 2016.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 01, 2013.