DEPARTMENT of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Thursday assured drivers of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) in Cebu that they will not be affected once the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is implemented.
Abaya, who was in Cebu to meet with officials of DOTC-affiliated agencies, told reporters that PUJ drivers don’t need to worry of their future once the BRT is in place as they will serve a “crucial role” in ensuring the project’s success.
To complement with the BRT, PUJs will serve by transporting passengers located in the outskirt sections of towns and cities and bring them toward the main highway.
“So they are not dislodge from the system. But actually be the first priority in the system,” said Abaya.
Abaya added the DOTC will also be conducting social preparations in the local level to ensure that PUJ drivers are ready once the BRT system becomes operational.
These preparations include prioritizing the existing PUJ drivers in the hiring of BRT drivers.
The BRT Cebu project is currently in the design stage as DOTC is still waiting for the result of the detailed engineering design, which is handled by the South Korea-based Kunhwa Engineering and Consultancy.
Abaya said that once the detailed engineering design is completed, DOTC may start with the bidding process.
He is hoping that the construction of the system could start within the third quarter of this year.
With the ban of government projects implemented by the Commission on Elections, Abaya said the DOTC is working on securing an exemption to ensure that the release of funds for the project won’t be derailed.
Abaya, however, assured that the agency will not resort to short-cutting the process and ensure that the BRT project will be approved without any irregularities.
While there have been calls to implement a Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Cebu, Abaya believed that a BRT must be realized first before any other transport systems will be implemented.
He urged the public to avoid criticizing the BRT project as the transport system has been implemented and developed in various countries, such as in Latin America and other parts of Asia.
“So hindi ito makaluma at outdated. There are some BRT systems in the world that could match LRT. So, let’s erase that notion, it is not a lesser capacity,” Abaya said.
Abaya urged the next president to prioritize the implementation of the BRT in Cebu.