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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bus system to create 10K jobs, but displace 14K persons

THE High Priority Bus System (HPBS) of Davao City is targeted to generate about 10,000 jobs once implemented, said Davao City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) head Ivan Cortez.

But it may also displace about 14,000 individuals including drivers and operators, Cortez said on the sidelines of the Economic Briefing conducted by the Department of Finance last Friday, March 9.

Cortez said the consultants hired by the Asian Development Bank for the HPBS transportation modernization program of Davao City are completing the feasibility study for submission to the Department of Transportation for approval before the project is presented to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board for funding.

“The bus system will employ around 10,000 people – people who will man the ticketing area, the central control system, the depot system. Many will be employed including the maintenance,” Cortez said.

But it will also displace drivers and operators.

The city government of Davao is proposing P85,000 and P110,000 to be given to the drivers and operators, respectively.

Part of the proposal is to designate the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the implementing agency.

Cortez also said the P85,000 is computed based on the average monthly income of drivers for six months, excluding the boundary fee. The P110,000 payment for the operators, on the other hand, is computed based on the cost of the unit and the boundary expected by the operators for six months.

For drivers who will be part of the system, they are required to pass NCII and NCIII for driving accreditation by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda). If they are absorbed, they will receive three months worth of pay while the training is ongoing.

“We will have a minimum of three or maximum of six operators. This is open for international bidding but usually, if there will be international bidders, they will still use the local-established bus operators to join the bidding,” Cortez said, adding there are already two local bus operators who have expressed interest in being part of the system.

One bus unit is priced at around P11 million for those made in China and about P19 million for those made in Germany.

Currently, the ratio of jeepney operators to the number of public utility jeepneys is almost one-to-one. Cortez said in 2021, they target that the entire road network of the city will be covered by the HPBS.

“So from 7,000 franchises, we will now decrease this to 32 routes spread all throughout the city. We will have bus routes from Bangkal to Panacan, for example – that far,” Cortez said.

The basic bus rate is expected to be around P28 to P40 depending on the destination.

Cortez also said this includes free WiFi use and comfortable spaces. HPBS will use modern card payment methods. One bus will have a capacity of 50 to 110 passengers.

“Although Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would want that there would be sample buses already being used in two years. So we’re also working out with LTFRB how we can do that. So at least the people won’t be shocked and that there are already buses along Davao streets,” Cortez said.
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