Cebu BRT project put on hold

By , on August 10, 2017

Proposed design of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System (PNA Photo)
Proposed design of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System (PNA Photo)

MANILA, Aug. 10 — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has put on hold the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System.

This, after the recent pronouncement of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto Pernia that it will have to wait while the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) system for Metro Cebu is being studied.

In a statement released late Wednesday night, the DOTr said that it will conduct a review of the BRT project.

“The DOTr believes that a review must be undertaken and that concerns raised must be addressed, so as not to cast any doubt on the integrity of the project,” according to the department.

“Rest assured that the decision to be made will be anchored on the DOTr’s aim to enhance mobility and connectivity in the country, and to put the convenience of the riding public, on topmost priority,” it added.

Last week, NEDA chief Pernia said the Cebu BRT Project would have to be put on hold because of its higher cost. It will be referred to the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) Technical Board for evaluation before it is endorsed to the ICC Cabinet Committee and to the NEDA Board for approval.

Pernia made the decision after he met with Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino who is a proponent of the LRT system in Cebu.

The BRT had a project cost of PHP10.6 billion when it was approved by the NEDA Board in 2014, under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III. The cost has increased to PHP16.9 billion because of a new road right-of-way acquisition law.

The project is envisioned to be a 23-kilometer BRT corridor (Bulacao-Ayala-Talamban) with segregated busways from Bulacao to Ayala and a link to Cebu’s South Road Property.

Dino requested the DOTr to review the project citing that it will only worsen the traffic in Metro Cebu because of the physical limitations of its roads and it is expensive to operate the system.

According to him, it is cheaper to construct a LRT system in the city.