CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella said Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, that the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project should be synchronized with the National Government’s efforts on the Intermodal Integrated Traffic System (IITS).
The BRT buses will transport commuters to a monorail transport system that is the backbone of the IITS. Labella wants to make sure that projects meant to address traffic woes have to be synchronized or coordinated because the problem cannot be solved by one or two actions of the government. It will need various courses of action to solve.
But such coordination should not be limited to big-ticket solutions.
Smaller solutions like assigning routes and allowing more for-hire vehicles on the roads should be addressed also in a coordinated manner.
Take the fielding of 1,500 more Grab cars and the opening of routes for the new e-jeepneys that are being readied for approval as measures to address road congestion. While they will increase the number of transportation options for commuters, they would also mean tighter roads, worse congestion and more incidents of road rage.
Grab Cebu wants regulators to allow 1,500 more units to join the car-hailing service to put a stop to increases in fare because of surges in demand. Grab has 1,500 units running in Cebu. It wants to double that number to match the volume of passengers, it said. It also urged authorities to regularly monitor the market so that unmet demand can immediately be answered by allowing more of its cars to run to fill the need.
Then, there is the move to open two new e-jeepney routes to address the absence or lack of public transport to the north of Cebu City and in Cordova town.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 is asking interested operators to bid for e-jeepneys to ply these new routes from Ayala Center Cebu to Barangay Guba, passing Banilad, Talamban and Bacayan in Cebu City, and from Cordova to Lapu-Lapu City.
Operators have to bid for the 20 e-jeepney units for the Ayala-Guba route and another 20 units for the Cordova-Lapu-Lapu route. The e-jeepneys are part of the National Government’s public utility vehicle modernization program.
An e-jeepney can accommodate 23 seated people and eight others standing in the aisle. A unit is air-conditioned and equipped with internet connection, global positioning system and security cameras.
In addition to these solutions, there are big buses meant for provincial travel but are now plying city streets to ferry commuters between malls and terminals. A single bus can occupy two lanes meant for more cars and motorcycles. But they are allowed to run on two-lane roads like the Pope John Paul II Ave. (formerly San Jose dela Montaña) and worsen the congestion as other vehicles have to wait for the bus to pass.
All these measures to field more vehicles on the streets will backfire if their presence will clog roads and leave cars on a standstill.
The solution then becomes part of the problem.