June 19, 2018, 11:38 pm
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DOTr may shelve 3 BRT projects

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is likely to shelve the implementation of three Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects under its turf, two on EDSA and one in Cebu, saying these systems will only worsen the traffic congestion in these areas.

Arthur Tugade, DOTr secretary, said he is not “inclined to approve” these BRT proposals which ironically are listed in the Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration.

“A BRT system requires a dedicated lane... Can you dedicate one lane (on) EDSA where there are six lanes and (they are) already overcrowded?” Tugade said.

The three BRT system projects under the DOTr are the P4.8- billion Metro Manila BRT - Line 1 which spans 12.3 kilometers from Quezon Memorial Circle to Manila City Hall via Elliptical road, Quezon avenue and Espana boulevard; the P37.8-billion Metro Manila - Line 2 (Central Corridor) or EDSA BRT and P10.6-billion Cebu Bus Rapid Transit a 23-km BRT corridor from Bulacao-Ayala-Talamban.

The 48.6-kilometer EDSA BRT consists of four corridors; namely, a main corridor along EDSA, and spur corridors on Ayala avenue to World Trade Center, Ortigas to Bonifacio Global City, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals.

The government had targeted to start operation of these projects by 2020.

But Tugade said the DOTr’s decision is not yet final. “I have been instructed by higher authority to get technical consultant and review my position which (is what) we’re doing right now,” Tugade said.

The conceptualization and feasibility studies for the three BRT system in Cebu, Quezon City and Edsa were started during Aquino administrations in 2011,2012 and 2015 respectively. These projects were supposed to  be funded through official development assistance.

The DOTr chief said a BRT system should be put in areas that are not crowded and congested like the Clark Green City project and in Bonifacio Global City of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“I’m not against a BRT system. It’s a good system but start it on a platform that is grounded on ground zero, meaning to say (in an area that is) not yet crowded or congested. It’s a good system, it can help in traffic flow and (ease) congestion,” Tugade said.

“If you want to improve the traffic flow in a place, you can do it underground like a subway or on ground (like an) MRT (Metro Rail Transit) or LRT (Light Rail Transit) but not BRT. I’m not against improving the traffic in the country but let’s do it in a rational way,” he added.

Tugade said the best solution for Cebu’s traffic is not a BRT but an integrated traffic light system under one entity, like a Cebu Traffic Authority.

In Metro Manila, the government prioritized to build the Metro Manila subway system and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) North-South 38-km. commuter rail system that will connect the region to Malolos, Bulacan.

Construction of the subway system is set to start in the fourth quarter this year.Partial operation is targeted in 2022 with the opening of three stations : Mindanao-Quirino highway, Tandang Sora and North avenue.

BCDA’s BRT on BGC, valued at P44 billion, will connect the business district to NAIA. It will traverse through the Bonifacio Global City, Bonifacio South, Villamor Air Base, NAIA terminals 1 to 3 up to Ninoy Aquino Station of the proposed LRT-1 Extension Project.

BCDA’s BRT project in Taguig pre-works and planning started during the Duterte administrations.

The alignment will likely be affected if the major BRT projects in Metro Manila are deferred.
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