BRT’s full completion expected in 2023
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Metro Cebu, and Cebu City in particular, will be seeing more changes on the streets starting at the end of 2021 up until 2023.
The buses that commuters are now used to riding due to the changes in the public transport during the pandemic will soon become the norm with additional facilities in the major thoroughfares around Cebu City.
Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard ‘Jonji’ Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas announced during the Cabinet Report program that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will be partially operational by the end of this year and will fully be completed by 2023.
“The DOTr (Department of Transportation), through Secretary Arthur Tugade, maintains that even if we are struck by the COVID pandemic, they remain to target partial operation of the project by December 2021 and full operation by January 2023. The next big step for Cebu BRT is land acquisition and bidding,” Asec Gonzales reported.
The long-delayed project, which has been continuously changing since 2008, will now be implemented in various phases and packages for the next three years.
Last February 8, CBRT Package 1 had reached the publication and bidding stage. Package 1 is scheduled for completion by December this year.
BRT Package 1 is comprised of four bus stations from the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) up to the Capitol area, along the Osmeña Boulevard.
The first package is around 2.38 kilometers of dedicated bus lane from Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) to the Capitol area.
On the other hand, Package 2 and 3 involve the establishment of trunk service from SRP to CSBT via Natalio Bacalso Avenue and from Capitol to IT Park with terminals at SRP and IT Park.
According to Gonzales, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is in charge of the expansion of the national road while the concerned local government unit will be responsible for local roads.
There is an ongoing finalization of parcillary mapping for the detailed engineering design for Package 2, which will cover 10.8 kilometers.
“There are delays in consultancy and in the parcillary mapping because the team could not optimally go to the ground due to the pandemic,” Gonzales explained.
Upon its completion, the BRT will be fielding 250 buses with at least 21 stations, he added. It will serve around 60,000 passengers a day.
Packages 1, 2 and 3 will form Phase 1 of the CBRT while for Phase 2, the plan is to convert feeder to trunk service.
Aside from the BRT, there will be several components such as monorail and ferry boat services from Carcar City to Danao City as well as cable car from Lahug area to Busay, Cebu City.
At present, the Cebu Interim Bus Service (CIBus) has been operating for months now. It is a precursor transport service that mimics the CBRT and aims to improve connectivity and mobility in Cebu City.
There are 20 low floor, low entry bus units operated by Bacolod-based Vallacar Transit, which also operates the Ceres Bus.
The first CIBus route is from Fuente Osmeña down to SRP via Natalio Bacalso Avenue and vice versa. But it had extended its service last September 9 last year from IT Park to SRP.
By operating during the pandemic, CIBus has helped Cebuano commuters, Gonzales noted. /rcg
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