DOTr to Cebu City Council: BRT implementation to start on 2021
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has promised the Cebu City Council that the implementation of the the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the city will start on 2021.
Cebu City Councilor James Cuenco, chairperson of the committee on transportation, said the new route plan was revealed during the regular session on November 25, 2020.
The council members had a mixed reaction to the new route that even Vice Mayor Michael Rama expressed his disappointment that the BRT line would not begin at Barangay Bulacao, which was the original plan.
Instead, the BRT line will begin at the corner of F. Vestil Street and the South Road Property (SRP) road where the depot of the buses will be located.
The route from the SRP would go to F. Vestil Street, to Natalio Bacalso Highway, to Osmeña Boulevard all the way to Capitol, to N. Escario Street, to Gorordo Avenue, proceeding to Salinas Drive, another depot will be located at the IT Park in Barangay Apas, and then the route will continue on to Barangay Talamban.
Although the actual BRT route only covers major thoroughfares, feeder routes from all over the interior roads will supplement the BRT, including the feeder routes from Barangay Bulacao and the other southern barangays to SRP.
“For me the plan is okay. It works, but the challenge is convincing the other council members to accept it. I hope the councilors will see the good in this plan,” said Cuenco.
The BRT plan is now waiting for the approval of the City Council for it to start implementation by 2021, with a target date of completion for phase 1 (SRP to Capitol) by the first quarter of 2022.
The challenge also lies in the Right of Way (ROW) acquisition especially when the properties near the major thoroughfares are already commercial in value and many owners are hesitant to let go of the property.
Most of the major thoroughfares have to be expanded because a dedicated lane for the buses will be placed at the center.
“I suggest to the landowners, just accept the offer of the government because the government can always expropriate the property. Instead of going through the long legal process, then they should accept the reasonable offer given to them,” said Cuenco.
Amid the challenges the BRT project is facing, Cuenco is still optimistic that it will push through. The councilor said he hoped that the rest of the City Council would see that hope as well.
“I am quite optimistic and hopeful of this project. It will be challenging but I believe the BRT will be realized,” said Cuenco./dbs
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