AMONG the major reforms long considered for Cebu City is the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Last Friday, the proposal for a BRT, which would cost $195 million to be completed by 2020, was endorsed by a committee as a preliminary step to approval of the Regional Development Council meeting later this month.
“It’s similar to our jeepney system now, but much better,” said Engineer Paul Villarete, a staunch BRT advocate, in his presentation to the RDC-Infrastructure and Development Committee.
The BRT, modeled after bus transport in Curatiba, Brazil, relies on dedicated bus lanes and elevated platforms where buses stop to pick up up and unload passengers.
Commuters will pay bus fare using smart cards or tickets.
Villarete said the system will earn $15 million in revenues annually and that bike and pedestrian lanes will be part of the land use plan.
A mass transit route from barangay Bulacao to Talamban will be the highest priority corridor, he said.
The BRT system will have 190 buses that will be served by 411 drivers.
Small vehicles like today’s jeepneys would serve as “feeders” serving areas outside the BRT system.
The executive summary of the Study and Concept Plan for the BRT was presented in the meeting.
“BRT in Cebu is deliverable physically, institutionally and financially,” the report said.
“It will offer a new form of public transport that has the potential to significantly enhance the mobility of those that live and work in Cebu benefiting growth in the local economy and offering significant environmental benefits.”
The prefeasibility study was initiated by The World Bank and the Public-Private Infrastructure Assistance Fund. /Reporter Candeze R. Mongaya