THE Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Metro Cebu may not be able to accommodate the current number of passengers in 10 street sections, a study presented by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) showed.

Jica, on the other hand, also introduced urban rail as a main public transport option.

N. Bacalso Ave. was named as one of the high frequency road sections for public utility vehicles (PUV), having more than 5,000 passengers/hour/direction. The study, though, has yet to name the other nine road sections.

In their research, the Jica Study Team (JST) counted more than six PUVs per minute passing N. Bacalso Ave.

If the average PUV capacity is 15 passengers, that will be 90 passengers/minute or 5,400 passengers/hour/direction, according to JST. More than that figure passes through the avenue.

“Even in the opening year, the Cebu BRT may not serve all the passengers to be shifted from PUVs on N. Bacalso Ave.,” JST stated in their presentation.


The number of PUV’s in 10 street sections in Metro Cebu may exceed BRT capacity plying that section. The BRT has a designed capacity of 4,500-5,400 passengers/hour/direction. But other cities’ experiences show that the BRT’s capacity is more or less 3,000 passengers/hour/direction.

Jica’s presentation on the sub-roadmap for public transport proposed two mass transport modes or scenarios: BRT and urban rail.

Scenario One is to maximize road networks using BRT, supported by buses, PUVs and tricycles.

Scenario Two introduces urban rail with other road-based public transport services to complement it.

In both scenarios, Cebu City will be the center of routes, with PUV’s and tricycles as feeders.


According to the study, the BRT ranks highest in the hierarchy of road-based public transport, although it has four critical success factors or challenges to succeed.

First, City leaders must have strong political will in allocating lanes and bus stops for BRT along its routes. And private vehicle owners must agree with the decrease of their available road space.

The removal of PUVs from the BRT routes and relocating them to smaller streets is another challenge to a successful BRT project.

Since the BRT is designated on narrow roads, construction of more flyovers or grade-separated interchanges to increase road capacities is a must, not only for public transit, but for other vehicles.

Neighboring LGUs should be encouraged to allow the BRT to extend the Cebu City routes to their areas, and mayors should be willing to address the challenges later.

“In conclusion, Metro Cebu will develop its public transport according to Scenario One for the time being, while simultaneously, Scenario Two will be prepared by planning study. Thereafter, Scenario Two will be implemented,” the JST stated.

Jica presented the Interim Report III last Jan. 30 to the governor and Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) steering committee.

The steering committee is composed of representatives from Neda, DILG, DENR, DOST, MCWD, DPWH, RAFI and Capitol officials.

The sub-roadmap for public transport and highway network was one of the major areas JST presented, as part of its Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development for MCDCB.

MCDCB is composed of 13 mayors of cities and municipalities of Metro Cebu from Carcar City to Danao City.

The Jica study team conducts technical studies and makes recommendations for development of 13 LGUs of the MCDCB and implementing agencies for its inclusion in LGU’s priority projects.