THE SM Prime Holdings Inc. has identified four locations for mass transit stations while the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system is still up in the air.

In a letter, SM Supermalls manager Sherry Tuvilla asked the Cebu City Government to evaluate the identified stations outside the South Road Properties (SRP). The stations will be for the internal transportation system at the SRP.

The SRP is supposed to have an internal BRT system but the approval of the entire system, which stretches from Bulacao to Talamban, is pending before the National Economic Development Authority Board.

The four stations identified are the downtown station, which will be located at the back of the Senior Citizen’s Park; the Mambaling station, which will be along C. Padilla and N. Bacalso Streets; the SM City Cebu station, which will be on the parking lot; and the North Bus Terminal station.

The locations were picked based on the study of foreign consultants from the Integrated Transport Planning.

The committee on energy, transportation, communications and other utilities did not object to the four stations, but through committee chairperson Councilor Nestor Archival it raised some issues that might become future problems.

For one, there might be a legal issue with the location of the downtown station because the Cebu Port Authority claims the lot where the Compaña Maritima stands.

Archival suggested an alternative location, but Mayor Michael Rama disagreed. “There’s no issue there. In fact, no case was filed,” Rama said. “If it’s for the public, then there should be no objection.”

However, he said the downtown station should be evaluated further because he’ll rather see marine vessels from City Hall instead of buses or the mass transport system envisioned inside the SRP.

“Citom (Cebu City Traffic Operations Management) will be involved and if necessary, I will also participate,” he said.

While Citom has already endorsed the stations, Archival found it necessary for the traffic department to evaluate the “turnaround route,” which will be at the North Bus Terminal. It should have the concurrence of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue, he said.

In the same report, Archival said the mass transport operator at the internal SRP route should comply with requirements from the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board.

The City should also have a back-up plan on what will happen to the operator when the BRT is eventually operational, he said.