Briones: ‘Imagined threat’

Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

Let me get something straight.

Around 500 modern public utility vehicle (MPUV) drivers are reportedly afraid that they will be displaced once the first package of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project is completed in July.

Are they referring to the same package that only covers a distance of 2.38 kilometers from the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Blvd.?

Do you know how short that distance is? That’s less than what I walked and jogged back when the Cebu City Sports Center was still open to the public.

And do they seriously think the first package will be finished in three months?

Anyway, I doubt the project’s proponent will deploy buses to operate on the route because I don’t see it becoming financially feasible and viable as it is.

So what are the MPUV drivers so worried about? It’s not as if their routes are confined to the first package’s route.

Let’s talk some common sense here.

Granted there are several schools in the area, but these are all just a stone’s throw from the CSBT.

It’ll be a waste of money to hop on a bus or any PUV for a less-than-a-minute joyride – okay maybe five minutes if there’s traffic, which is more often the case. Let’s face it, it’ll be quicker to just walk.

It’ll be the same when visiting one of the many banks in the vicinity.

To reiterate, the distance of the first package can easily be covered on foot.

We all know that the uptown area is teeming with establishments and whatnot.

Several hospitals are located there. So are the headquarters of the Police Regional Office 7 and the Department of Health 7. It is also home to a department store, groceries, hotels and pension houses, etc., etc., etc.

Not long ago, the uptown area was the epicenter of the city until the advent of the malls. But it’s not dead. Far from it. In fact, many businesses have managed to cling on, and most of them are familiar because they’ve occupied the same spot for more than three decades.

There will still be plenty of passengers. MPUV drivers needn’t feel insecure.

According to Ellen Maghanoy, chairperson of the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperatives, “MPUV units from the Lahug Apas Transport Cooperative, Kalunasan Operators and Drivers Transport Cooperative, Banawa Transport Cooperative and Mabolo Transport Cooperative are the first ones to be affected once the CBRT Package 1 becomes operational.”

She told SunStar Cebu she anticipates a significant decline in income with the CBRT’s operation, “as passenger traffic could be diverted.”

Hmmm. Anticipates. Could be. Not very definitive of her because she really has no idea what’s going to happen.

But this we all know. There will always be commuters who need to go to Lahug, Kalunasan, Banawa, Mabolo, etc., etc., etc. How will a route diversion affect their ridership?

Of course, it will be a different story once the entire CBRT line is completed since it might stretch all the way from Talisay in the south to Talamban in Cebu City in the north. That should give MPUVs a run for their money.

But that won’t be happening anytime soon. Not even in the near future. Transport coops can rest assured that they have ample to time to pay off their loans to purchase their units.

After all, we are in the Philippines where a local government unit takes almost one year to rehabilitate 400 meters of an oval track.


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