Construction of terminals, bus stops for Cebu BRT to start in October

·3 min read

CIVIL works on the long-overdue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Cebu City will finally start in October, eight years after funding for the project was approved.

This will include the construction of bus terminals, bus stops and other infrastructure for Package 1 of the Cebu BRT project, which starts at the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) on N. Bacalso Ave., traversing Osmena Blvd., up to the Provincial Capitol.

City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco said the scope of work for the construction of the BRT infrastructure will include “trunk lines, sidewalk improvement, stations and other appurtenances from Capitol to CSBT,” including a link to the port along Osmeña Blvd.

Cuenco, who chairs the City Council’s committee on transportation, said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has already chosen the contractor who will undertake the first phase of the BRT project. Cuenco, however, has yet to find out who won the bidding.

Noting that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. already ordered the DOTr to start project, Cuenco said he hopes the implementing agency can start the construction of Packages 1, 2 and 3 simultaneously.

“With the President’s go signal, we are hoping that they would simultaneously construct Packages 2 and 3. This is because Package 1’s route is too short. I don’t think commuters would want to ride from the South Bus (terminal) and disembark at the Capitol only to ride another vehicle,” Cuenco said.

“We are hoping that the construction works will be done simultaneously. Even if it will take some time, as long as we can see that they are being worked on,” he added.

Packages 2 and 3 involve the establishment of trunk services from the South Road Properties (SRP) to CSBT via N. Bacalso Ave., and from Capitol to the Cebu IT Park in Barangay Apas with terminals at the SRP and IT Park.

Terminal

Cuenco said he also plans to raise to DOTr during an executive session their proposal to sign a deed of usufruct with the City Government to use a 1.6-hectare lot at the SRP for the BRT terminal.

He said there is a need to review the proposal as he feels it is “too one-sided” in favor of DOTr.

According to DOTr’s proposal, the deed of usufruct will allow the DOTr to use the property rent-free for 25 years.

“For 25 years, DOTr won’t pay the City anything. The City does not get anything in return. If they get tenants, the tenants won’t need to pay anything to the City,” Cuenco said.

He hopes the proposal can be reviewed so they can come up with a deal that will benefit both parties.

The Cebu BRT project is funded by the French government through Agence Française de Développement (Euro 50.89 million); the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ($116 million), the lending arm of the World Bank Group; the Clean Technology Fund ($25 million) administered by the World Bank; and counterpart financing from the Philippine Government (US$30 million), according to a World Bank report on the project.

The project was initially proposed in 1996 during the term of then mayor Tomas Osmeña.

In 2014, the World Bank committed around US$116 million after approving the project.

Once completed, the Cebu BRT project will be able to deploy 250 buses that can accommodate 60,000 passengers daily.