As you walk along the bustling areas of Davao City, whether it be in the north or south side neighborhoods, you would see sprawling communities complete with different kinds of establishments - from small cafes to big shopping malls.

In recent years, more real estate projects are sprouting across the metropolis, such as housing subdivisions or shiny condominium towers that are slowly emerging and changing Davao City’s landscape.

As more of these developments are established in Davao City, more people and investors are reeled in as well, which begs the question if the city’s transportation sector is capable to accommodate the growing demands.

Ivan Cortez, head of the Davao City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), said Davao City currently experiences congestion due to heavy foot traffic during morning and evening peak hours but there are fewer people in between the peak hours.

He said this is challenging for public transportation plying around the city because there are fewer passengers to accommodate.

“Kung tanawon nato ang feasibility sa all day long na tuyok sa buses, dili siya feasible sa bus company kay peak hours lang manggawas ang mga tao (It’s not feasible for buses to ply all day because people only come out during peak hours),” Cortez told SunStar Davao in an interview on October 19.

On the other hand, the opposite is felt during peak hours, wherein public transportation struggles to accommodate the many people in need of a ride home. This forces Dabawenyos to wait hours for a ride or to walk long distances.

“You will experience nga gamay ra ang jeep (there are less jeepneys on the road) because kasagaran wala na sila nag renew (most of them stopped operating) because of the pandemic and the incoming high priority bus system (HPBS),” Cortez said.

Regional director of the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board in Dava Region (LTFRB-Davao) Nonito Llanos III said the transport sector is one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which severely affected transport companies and individual operators.

However, Cortez and Llanos agree that one of the solutions seen for the city’s transportation problem is the HPBS since it will decongest the streets with its interconnected bus services in a 626-kilometer road network featuring five depots and three terminals.

“The HPBS is capable of serving 800,000 passengers per day once completed. Not only that, the HPBS is not only well integrated with the Provincial Buses but also into the Mindanao Railway Project or MRP,” Llanos said.

In the meantime, the LTFRB-Davao said they continue to collaborate with franchise holders, the local government units, and the agencies that represent the commuting public to address the demands.

“We have faith that the transportation business still continues to push through in order to address the demands of the riding public, despite the challenges such as fuel price increases, high cost of vehicle maintenance and a decrease of committed drivers and allied workers, who are now exploring other income opportunities,” Llanos said.

In the future, the HPBS would complement with the developing real estate in Davao City and citizens can travel from one place to another with comfort and ease. This will surely attract more investors and increase the city’s population and in turn, benefit the local economy.

“Dynamic ang change sa atong economy (The change in our economy is dynamic) and the real estate landscape is ever-changing. I have to emphasize that we are right now, big on providing a better environment for everybody that is sustainable beyond the generations,” Cortez said. ICM