THE future is looking bright for the public transport system in Davao City.
For years, Dabawenyos have been clamoring for a better public transport system. At present, commuters have to deal with tight jeepneys, lack of a seamless and effective system in public transport, some public utility vehicle (PUV) who disregard traffic rules, and PUVs that do not have the capacity to handle the number of passengers during peak hours.
With the economic boom in the city in recent years, it is in need of an effective public transport system. One that is able to seamlessly transport large groups of people from one place to another.
Therefore, it is a welcome development when Assistant City Administrator Tristan Dwight Domingo announced that the city is set to implement the much-awaited High Priority Bus System (HPBS) in 2020. However, the implementation of the HPBS next year will be a trial phase and will initially serve the Catalunan Grande, Toril, and the Carlos P. Garcia National Highway (Diversion Road) routes.
“We have next year to try and prepare (the implementation). At least we have a good opportunity for a year to test it out in some parts of the city,” Domingo said.
For the initial implementation of the HPBS, Domingo said the local government will utilize the P100-million fund approved by the City Council in August this year. This will be sourced from the 2019 Supplemental Budget 1.
Another welcome development is the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)-Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approving on November 29 the P18.66 billion HPBS.
It is also good to note that the city already has plans on how it will assist the affected PUV drivers and operators. In a SunStar Davao report on December 5, the city was already able to secure P650 million for the compensation and various training of the affected operators and drivers, which include education and livelihood, to drivers and operators affected by the HPBS.
These new developments on the HPBS is getting many of us Dabawenyos excited. However, we hope the government would be able to plan this properly and implement it effectively. It is also our hope that no anomalies will be involved in the implementation of the HPBS.
While the city is unable to expand the roads in certain areas, especially the central downtown area, having an effective public transport system may improve the traffic situation. Should the HPBS be implemented, it may help reduce the number of vehicles using the city's road networks.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that the city government will be able to stick with its schedule and implement the initial phase of the HPBS next year. It may not be fully implemented yet by that time but it is a great start in improving the outdated public transport system in Davao City.