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Monday, January 21, 2019

Implementation of BRT in Cebu put on hold

THE implementation of the P10.6-billion Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Cebu City has been put on hold.

The project is now two months delayed, said BRT Cebu Project Manager lawyer Rafael Yap.

In an interview Sunday, July 31, Yap said the BRT implementation was suspended because new officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) have yet to be briefed on the project.

“The new administration needs to be briefed on the status of the BRT, the causes of delays in the previous administration and what needs to be done,” he told SunStar Cebu.

Yap clarified that the briefing is not equivalent to a consultation, as what was earlier reported, considering that the project has already been approved by the National Government and is supposed to be implemented by the DOTC.

There is no schedule yet on when the briefing with the DOTC, now headed by Secretary Arthur Tugade, will be.

The previous target was that after the May 9 national and local elections, the procurement or bidding for the construction of the BRT would start.

The first phase of the 16-kilometer project is the construction of bus ways, bus stations and other facilities on Osmeña Blvd., particularly the area from Fuente Osmeña to the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

The project will run from Bulacao in the south to Talamban in the north.

The BRT, as a mass transport system in the city, has been identified as one of the ways road traffic may be eased. The facility, once in place, will have 33 bus stations with 176 buses and is projected to serve 330,000 passengers daily.

‘Acceptable’

Yap said the two-month delay is still within the “acceptable parameters.” Foreign funders of the BRT will understand the delays and will take into consideration the change of administration.

He also said there is no deadline on when the funds for the project should already be used by the Philippine Government. The city’s BRT is funded by Agence Francaise de Development and the World Bank, through the Clean Technology Fund.

Asked about the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address that he will provide a mass transit system in Cebu and Davao, Yap said he believes that a rail project will complement the BRT.

“The LRT (light rail transit), on from what I learned, have stations separated by greater distances, unlike BRT that has shorter distances between stops. For me, the two actually complement each other,” he said.

However, the implementation of the LRT, he said, might take several years longer considering that it still needs to go through the process. It needs to get the approval of each affected local government unit’s development council, the Regional Development Council and the National Economic and Development Authority, among others.

Pre-feasibility and feasibility studies also need to be conducted, he pointed out.
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