Cabaero: Comprehensive transport plan

THERE is no doubt that Cebu needs a new mass transport system.

Road congestion because of too many cars on the streets, inadequate public transport units and flooding after every heavy downpour have become regular complaints of commuters. And there is no single solution to all these.

Many solutions have been put forward to address problems that go with a growing metropolis but there has been no consensus on what new system would be most efficient and effective.

Now comes the plan of SM Prime Holdings Inc. to operate buses called the MyBus in Metro Cebu in time for the opening of its biggest project here, the SM Seaside City. The air-conditioned buses will have Internet access, global positioning system and a passenger information system to announce destination and route. The MyBus will cover an underserved route from Talisay City to the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City.

Bus and jeepney operators and drivers opposed the plan in a hearing Friday because they see the MyBus as displacing them and worsening congestion.

There have been other solutions put forward in deliberations on Cebu’s road problems. Among them are a light rail system, the bus rapid transit project, overhead roads and even underwater tunnels. The expectation was that a master plan to identify what system goes to which area of the metropolis would be crafted. Not one solution but a combination of systems to address congestion and growth.

The MyBus is only one course of action and it is private sector-initiated, not decided by government planners. It fills a need of SM to make the new project accessible and of Cebuanos who would want a dispersal of shopping options.

If the MyBus gets its franchise, government planners would have to see it as only a part of the needed comprehensive mass transport program.

***

A teenager failing in school. A jobless man who sees no way out of poverty. A jealous spouse or partner. A student whose close friend committed suicide days ago and he wants to follow his friend.

They all committed suicide. They all saw no reason to continue to live.

Those who are depressed, or are thinking of taking the easy way out, have to know there is hope at the end of a phone line. The Hopeline connects them to someone who could give them hope when they feel there is nothing left for them.

Dial 2919 or 09175584673 on your mobile phone and talk to a counselor or have someone listen to you. From a landline, call 804-4673 (HOPE). Call anytime.

The Department of Health and the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation launched Friday in Cebu the “Hopeline,” a phone-in counseling program for people fighting depression.

There were no statistics presented on the number of suicides in Cebu but media reports have documented several instances of people who hanged or shot themselves or jumped off bridges to end all.

The hotline is for everybody, regardless of age or status in life.

(ninicab@sunstar.com.ph)
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