THE Cebu North Bus Terminal (CNBT) in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City will need a new home by the end of the year and Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella believes Cebu City is the place.

The Cebu City Government’s lease contract with the Mandaue City Government will expire in October and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes recently announced that he would not be renewing it.

Labella said this will be one of the options he will bring up with Cortes when the two meet to discuss the matter this month.

However, Labella has yet to identify the area where a new CNBT will rise.

If Labella’s plan pushes through, the City Transportation Office (CTO) already expects traffic in the city to worsen, but it is willing to deploy more traffic enforcers in the vicinity of the new terminal, according to CTO spokesman Ronnie Nadera.

Nadera said a number of things need to be considered if the CNBT is transferred to Cebu City.

He said the relocation site will have to be in a wide area like the North Reclamation Area to accommodate the buses and the facility will have to be in the northern part of the city.

Bus operators and passengers who use the CNBT have already appealed to Cortes to reconsider his decision.

Marisa Montecillo, one of the bus operators of Cebu North San Sebastian Corp., said they prefer the current location because they’re used to the place. They also don’t want to inconvenience passengers.

“We already heard the news and that’s why we said it would be difficult because we’re okay with our situation and it’s peaceful here,” she said in Cebuano.

She admitted that a move to Cebu City would be an advantage because they’d have more passengers. However, the problem is the traffic, she said.

The Cebu North San Sebastian Corp. has seven members that operate 59 buses to the towns of Borbon, Tabogon, Catmon, Sogod and Bogo City.

Jolito Cabanes, administrative officer of Ceres Liner, declined to release a statement regarding the issue.

Paz Solario, a 64-year-old passenger from Daanbantayan, said she likes the terminal’s current location because it is very accessible to her children who live in Mandaue City.

Leah Calipay, a frequent visitor to Cebu from Masbate, said she has no problem if the CNBT moves as long as the new location is convenient to passengers.

In another development, the CNBT’s counterpart in the south, the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) on N. Bacalso Ave. in Cebu City, may get a new building.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she might take that course of action to address the overcrowded situation at the facility even though she initially planned to renovate the terminal.

Based on the data provided by Carmen Quijano, CSBT operations manager, an estimated 50,000 passengers enter and leave the terminal every day, with not less than 500 buses plying the southern route.

The governor said they could apply minor changes like repaint the facility and make new arrangements inside but because of the current situation, she wanted major changes done. However, to do so without inconveniencing the public posed a problem.

“As of the moment, unless we are able to transfer temporarily the operations of CSBT, it might be difficult to start implementing major changes. We can do band-aid solutions or make cosmetic changes, repainting, repaving, but if you consider the volume of the passengers that are presently being handled by the terminal, this really calls for re-engineering and in that sense a total change of the entire structure,” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The governor is studying plans to build a new terminal under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

“We really wish to improve that (CSBT). That’s very valuable. That’s prime property and we are thinking of even inviting the private sector to come in on a PPP,” she said.

Garcia also clarified that the Province has nothing to do with operations of the north bus terminal so passengers with complaints should not approach the Capitol.

“We are only handling CSBT and so if there are complaints regarding north bus, don’t include the Provincial Government because it is being handled by another entity. But that is not to say that we are not also interested in looking for an area that we could set up a north bus terminal operation. That’s something for the private sector to consider as well if they should wish to enter into a PPP with the Provincial Government because we would also consider that if there’s an area in the north that is available,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The Cebu City Government operates the CNBT, while the Province operates the CSBT. (JJL, KFD, ANV / PJB)