DOTr plans revival of rail transit in Cebu

CEBU. Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan in an interview with reporters on Thursday, February 29, 2024.
CEBU. Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan in an interview with reporters on Thursday, February 29, 2024. Photo by Earl Kim Padronia

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) is planning to return the rail transit as a mode of transportation back to Cebu after several decades.

Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday, February 29, 2024, and introduced to the latter the “Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan.”

Railway-based system mode of transportation is nothing new to the Cebuano's as this was one of the major ways to commute from the town of Argao in the south to Danao in the north way back in the colonial times up until the end of the Second World War (WWII).

Photo by Earl Kim Padronia

After the meeting with Garcia, Batan explained to the reporters in an interview that the project is yet in the pre-planning stages, so there is no concrete timeline, estimated costs, and source of funding yet.

The plan was to construct a 67.5-kilometer underground passenger railway line or subway system that would connect Carcar City in the south to as far as Danao City in the north.

Batan added that this is similar to the ongoing construction of the 33-kilometer Metro Manila Subway in the National Capital Region.

He said that after discussing with the governor, the idea of a public-private partnership (PPP) and the local government unit (LGU) to handle the project was mulled.

“We are excited about the possibility of another first: potentially the first subway that will be entirely financed by the local government through various funding strategies and without requiring national government funding,” Batan said.

Under the Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan in 2019, Batan said that the railway-based transport backbone was identified as a crucial transportation system to address Cebu's growing need for mass transit.

"The beauty of the subway as first seen in the subway in Metro Manila is that between stations, we are tunneling underground and people don't even know that we are already building underground, and that is what we are planning to do in Cebu," Batan said.

In DOTr's presentation during the meeting, the proposed subway system aims to reduce traffic congestion, reduce travel time, improve interconnection, improve passenger and commuter service, increase climate resiliency, and a more accessible public transportation for vulnerable groups and persons with limited mobility.

The masterplan has two phases: Phase 1 will be the Urban Mass Rapid Transport (UMRT) Central Line traversing from Danao City, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cebu City, Talisay City, Minglanilla Naga City, San Fernando, and Carcar City.

Phase 2 will be the UMRT Coastal line starting from Talisay City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City.

"One of the inputs we received from the discussion is the possibility to include one town north of Consolacion. I think it's Bogo (City) with a big population center, so we will include that into consideration," Batan added.

The Metro Cebu Urban Transport Master Plan was completed back in 2019 and was formulated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

In a report from the Cebu Provincial Government Public Information Office on Thursday, February 29, 2024, Garcia proposed to the DOTr delegates to allow the Cebu LGUs to take upon the implementation of the proposed project, while DOTr will maintain its supervisory control.

The report added that the Provincial Government shall introduce the project to the private firms through its Economic Enterprise Council (EEC) for a possible PPP collaboration, subject to the rules and regulations set by law.

With the LGU implementing the project, the necessary permits and the cooperation of the LGUs involved will certainly expedite the execution and completion of the proposed subway project. (EHP)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.