THE proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Cebu City is being tested in Metro Manila.

“We are in the experimental stage. We want to prove or disprove the adaptability of this concept to the Philippine setting,” President Benigno Aquino III told reporters yesterday after the groundbreaking ceremony of a road widening project in Barangay Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City.

Though the BRT is proposed for Cebu City, doing the experiment in the city will create traffic congestion since it involves dedicating one lane for buses and the city’s roads are not that wide, Aquino said.

The first phase of the experiment was done on Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City, but it encountered problems because of miscommunication among government agencies.

President Aquino said the buses were stopped by the Metro Manila Development Authority in the middle of the experiment.

There will be a second phase of the experiment, he said, adding that the feasibility of the BRT system needs to be proven before it is implemented in Cebu City.

Aquino has excluded the BRT from the list of priority projects that will be undertaken

through public-private partnership.

Once the system is proven to work for Cebu, Aquino said, sourcing out funds for its implementation will not be a problem, since the government can take out a loan.

“Funding is the least of the problem,” he said.

The BRT, which is one of the transport schemes proposed to decongest traffic in Cebu City, will replace jeepney routes with dedicated bus lines. Aquino said the BRT will cost P9 billion.

“Maganda ang concept pero iba kung nasubukan na (The concept is good but it has to be tried and tested),” he said.

Another option being considered is the Light Rail Transit, but Aquino said this system will be harder to implement as it involves more infrastructure and may affect historical buildings.

Aquino said he likes the concept of BRT but admitted implementing the system will take time.

Aside from the BRT, there are also ongoing feasibility studies for the creation of a third link between Mandaue and Mactan, a bridge connecting Cebu and Bohol, and another one connecting Cebu and Negros Oriental, said Aquino.

Other major projects for Cebu include the construction of a new passenger terminal for the Mactan Cebu International Airport, the new Naga Power Substation, the Carmen Bulk Water Supply Project, the Cebu Port Authority Management System, and the improvement of roads from Cebu City to San Remigio, Cebu.

Aquino said there are 11 prospective bidders for the construction of the new passenger terminal, which will cost P17.5 billion.

With a new passenger terminal, the airport will be able to increase its passenger traffic by 400 percent.