THE government will introduce an interim bus service from Fuente Osmeña to southern Metro Cebu on March 15, 2020 in a bid to help ease traffic congestion while the infrastructure for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is under construction.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who was in Cebu Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, for a meeting on the proposed Metro Cebu Integrated and Intermodal Transport System (MCIITS), stressed that this is not the BRT yet, but this will provide trunk service until the BRT begins partial operations by December 2021.
The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, in a social media post Saturday, said the timelines for the partial operations of the BRT are as follows: phase 1 from the Cebu South Bus Terminal to Capitol by December 2021; and phase 2 from Bulacao/Talisay to Talamban by March 2022.
The 39.88-kilometer BRT route will reach Talisay City, but Tugade said the technical working group is eying to extend it to San Fernando town.
“As I said, this is the interim bus transport system. Meaning to say, we will follow the partial operability places and time and if it will reach there (San Fernando), we will know that from the technical team,” he said.
Tugade said the buses will use dedicated lanes for the BRT alignment.
As for the number of buses that will be deployed, Tugade said it will depend on the density of passengers. It will also depend on the result of the study pushed by the technical team, which includes Land Transportation Office 7 Director Victor Caindec, he said.
During the meeting, Tugade reiterated the need to fast track the procurement and construction of the BRT system, a project that has been delayed for over five years.
Under the proposed MCIITS, the BRT will provide a feeder service to the proposed Cebu Monorail system.
“As a feeder line, BRT buses will travel under a loop system that will serve passengers getting off the monorail coaches and ferry them to the peripheral destinations,” the DOTr said in a statement.
Tugade said the interim bus augmentation is the “very first phase” and the BRT, monorail and cable car system will follow.
The cable car system, which will start at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and cross the Mactan Channel to downtown Cebu City, will also be accelerated.
Tugade said this will not only boost the tourism value of Cebu, but it will also improve public mobility.
“Note that the place where it will be coming from will be the international airport going to downtown Cebu. What are we talking about? We are talking there of about more than five million passengers moving,” said Tugade.
The detailed engineering design study for the BRT project is now under review and validation by technical support consultant Egis International.
The proposed P80-billion Cebu Monorail project, on the other hand, has been submitted to the Investment Coordination Committee Technical Board for evaluation.
The monorail will be built in areas the BRT cannot pass.
“It has to be the MCIITS for the simple reason that there are areas not suitable for the BRT or the cable car,” explained Tugade.
Once all of these projects are completed, there will be a “smooth traffic flow which they (public) never experienced and had before,” he said.
Tugade led the DOTr team that met with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, Egis representatives and the BRT National Project Management Team on Saturday. (MVI / JJL / WBS)