‘MyBus terminal, not more jeepneys needed’

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag November 19,2015 - 05:47 AM
Former Citom chief Rafael Yap explains the advantages of adding an SM MyBus Terminal at the Robinsons Galleria Mall during the City Council hearing. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Former Citom chief Rafael Yap explains the advantages of adding an SM MyBus Terminal at the Robinsons Galleria Mall during the City Council hearing. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

An additional bus terminal, not more  jeepney routes are  better suited for the new Robinsons Galleria Cebu mall which opens this December 10, traffic officials said.

“By adding a bus station there, we hope to  reduce the volume of private cars that will head to Robinsons Galleria, thereby reducing the volume of vehicles passing along Serging Osmeña Avenue and Gen. Maxilom Avenue,” said former Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chief Rafael Yap.

During yesterday’s Cebu City Council executive session, Yap said many  passenger jeepneys already service the area.

The session tackled the request of Robinsons regional operations manager Floramie Vega to include the mall in the route of SM’s new premium buses, which will soon operate.

They also want additional jeepney routes to the new Robinson’s mall  which is expected to generate  daily foot traffic of 50,000 when it becomes fully operational.

Yap said based on city records for 2014-15, there are 928 passenger jeepneys that pass by the Robinsons Galleria site.

These include routes 08F (56 units), 10H (140 units), 10M (82 units), 12E (10 units), 12G (100 units), 12I (105 units), 12J (27 units), 21A, 22A and 22G (92 units), 21D (62 units), 01B (42 units), 01C (30 units) and 01K (182 units).

“It’s just that road reconstruction in the North Reclamation Area like in A. Soriano  forced us to divert traffic and reroute some passenger jeepneys that used to pass by the mall,” Yap said.

With the opening of the new mall, he said the jeepney routes will be back.

Carolyn Varias of SMDI Consultants Inc. said their traffic impact study for Robinsons’ new mall showed that the volume of private vehicles going to and from the mall is expected to dramatically rise  if there is no  public transport in the area.

“Based on our study, the vehicular traffic to be generated by the mall upon full operation would be 585 vehicular trips in the morning and 1,803 vehicular trips in the afternoon. You can just imagine our projection on the effect of the level of service of S. Osmeña and Maxilom Ave. would be resulting to congestion,” she told the council.

Varias  putting up a bus station would ecourage the public to use public transport instead of private cars.

Yap, who now heads the Cebu City office for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, expressed support for Robinsons’ request.

He said it would benefit the  SM MyBus’s route and service more passengers.

He said the SM premium buses classified as a High Quality Public Transport System (HQPTS) would become a viable sustainable transportation system.

Yap said since approval for an additional bus terminal would have to come from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) that approved the routes and stations for SM.

Yap said Cebu City can also  approve the request since the routes are within its jurisdiction.

SM representatives  were invited to the session but did not attend yesterday.

Ryan Benjamin Yu, Citrasco chairman, said several transport groups oppose the issuance of a franchise for the SM buses but they  support Robinsons Mall’s request for additional jeepneys.

He and Richard Cabucos, president of the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association, asked mall managers for space and a queuing line for jeepneys and taxis within the mall.

Vega assured though that they have a lane for taxis in the Gen. Maxilom side of their mall and they also have jeepney loading and unloading areas within their property.

Greg Perez of the militant transport group Piston Cebu, Rudy Lacunza of the Alliance of Transport Organization Members Intra-Cebu (Atomic) and Romeo Armamento of the National

Confederation of Transport Workers Union (NCTU) Cebu chapter opposed the additional jeepneys at the Robinson’s Galleria Mall.

Aside from more competition and less revenue on their part, they said it will also worsen traffic congestion in the area.

Meanwhile, Julieto Flores, president of Cebu South Mini-Bus Operators Association (CSMBOA) said they will file charges if the SM MyBus is given a franchise.

“A public consultation must be held before the hearing,” Flores told Cebu Daily News.

Regional Director Reynaldo Elnar of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the franchise application of the Metro Rapid Transit Service Inc. (MRTSI), which operates the SM MyBus, is still pending.

Flores said there is nothing wrong with the approved fare rates.

“The fare rates are not a problem because that would be the concern of the riding public if they would oppose and find it expensive or not,” he said.

Flores also clarified that he is not against for transport modernization but there should have been more consultation.

“I also understand that the riding public wants modernized public transportations,” he said.

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TAGS: bus stations, Cebu City, Cebu City Traffic Operations Management, public transport, Robinsons Galleria Cebu, transportation

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