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Bus rapid transit system eyed for Cebu northern corridor

First Posted 14:48:00 09/11/2007

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Cebu City, Philippines ? The establishment of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will be a more feasible mode of public transportation for Cebu City because its capital costs are lower compared to a metro rail system, Cebu City Planning and Development Officer Nigel Paul Villarete said.

Citing a feasibility study to determine the viability of establishing a BRT system in Manila, Villarete said at least $500,000 to $15 million is required per kilometer.

The cost includes the purchase of buses and the establishment of needed infrastructure. Operation begins within 18 months.

On the other hand, Villarete said a metro rail system will cost $25 million to $60 million per kilometer, while a light rail transit system costs $15 million to $40 million per kilometer.

Villarete said BRT operations should be a private sector initiative and one operator may be assigned per line.

Citing the Curatiba BRT system in Brazil as a model, he said the government should only get involved in the regulation and control of the system and in fixing and collecting fares.

?Based on the Curatiba model, there is a contract between the government and the operator. The government collects payments and then pays the operator on a per kilometer basis. Kung ingon ani ang paagi, dili na mag huwat ug dugay ang buses sa mga pasahero. Mapugos sila ug larga on time kay per kilometer traveled man ilang bayad,? he said.

The Cebu City government wants to establish a BRT system in the northern corridor particularly along the eight-kilometer Gov. Cuenco Avenue.

Villarete said there is a need to widen the four-lane Gov. Cuenco Avenue to six lanes to make it feasible for BRT operations.

The BRT system will need two inner lanes, while four lanes will be for private vehicles.

The city government is also studying the feasibility of a metro-wide operation to cater to commuters from the neighboring cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay.

World Bank has offered to provide technical assistance and loans to private investors to purchase buses.

Apart from Brazil, the BRT system is also used in Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Columbia./Reporter Doris C. Bongcac

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