BRT+LRT IN 2020
By 2020, both the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) components of the Metro Cebu Integrated and Intermodal Trans- portation System (MCIITS) will be operational to address the worsening traffic condition in Metro Cebu.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced this development on its official Facebook page last Friday, December 7. In the post’s caption, DOTr said the agency and other government officials were conducting a meeting on that day with the technical service consultant (TSC) hired to implement the BRT and LRT components of MCIITS.
It was attended by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.
“It was agreed upon during the meeting that Phase 1 of CBRT (Cebu BRT) and CLRT (Cebu LRT), including its common station, be operational by 2020,” DOTr said.
Phase 1 of the BRT will cover the areas from the South Road Properties (SRP) up to Barangay Capitol Site in uptown Cebu City.
In a follow-up message sent to CEBU DAILY NEWS,
DOTr Communications Director Goddess Hope Libiran said their agency is aiming to start the civil works of the MCIITS next year, 2019.
“The BRT is still in Detailed Engineering Design Stage, while the LRT is in proposal evaluation stage. Hoping we can start construction in 2019,” Libiran said.
Last November, DOTr Undersecretary Mark Richmund De Leon, the department’s assistant secretary for road transport and infrastructure, assured Cebuanos that the BRT will be a go, with its design being reviewed in order to incorporate in it the other modes of transportation that were being developed under MCIITS.
He also said they were planning to implement the BRT in wider road networks in Cebu City.
De Leon was in Cebu on November 26 as guest for the launching of Cebu City’s first set of modernized public utility vehicles (PUVs) called Beeps.
BRT, which is funded by the World Bank and the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), the international lending arm of the French government for development projects, has already suffered multiple delays.
It was one of the projects undertaken by DOTr that was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) due to underutilized funds, and mounting commitment fees that have so far reached P14 million.
The P17-billion BRT project was supposed to be implemented in 2014 and completed by 2016.
Aside from the BRT and LRT components, the MCIITS will also be introducing a monorail, a pointto-point (P2P) bus system, and an intelligent transportation management system.
The monorail system will be serving commuters in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island, connecting the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to the different hotels and resorts on the island.
On the other hand, the LRT system, which is a major component of the IITS, will traverse from Carcar City in southern Cebu to Danao City in the north.
According to a Facebook post from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), the LRT will serve as the “backbone” of the MCIITS with the bus systems to complement it.
“LRT will be the backbone of an integrated intermodal transport system. The first phase of the project will have an LRT and a high priority bus system that will act as a feeder line to the LRT. It will also include a common station,” OPAV said.
The MCIITS was put together in line with DOTr’s promise to provide a “Basket of Solutions” to solve traffic congestion in Metro Cebu. It was unveiled to the public last July.
The National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (Neda-ICC) has also approved the BRT’s inclusion in the MCIITS.
But in April, the Cabinet committee urged DOTr to form and mobilize the project’s TSC, which the agency managed to do so only last September, or five months later.
The TSC is tasked to oversee the entire implementation stage of the project.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, the brain behind the BRT project, yesterday reacted to the DOTr’s post by expressing his suspicion that the BRT project might be decimated with its inclusion in the MCIITS.
In a separate post on his own official Facebook page, Osmeña once again slammed Dino by accusing the latter of probably sabotaging the BRT component of MCIITS.
“Michael Dino failed to have the BRT cancelled, so now he’s going to take over its implementation so he can destroy it from within. The BRT could have begun implementation earlier this year. It SHOULD have been completed by next year,” Osmeña said.
Osmeña has vigorously opposed the moves to cancel the BRT project to give way to an LRT system, which was championed by Dino, one of the mayor’s vocal critics.
CDN left a text message in Dino’s inbox but he has not replied as of press time.