The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, a P16.3 billion project, is set to start its first phase and partial operations by December 2021. The technical working group for the said project only has this month (September) to finalize its study and design.
The said project is a component of the planned Integrated Intermodal Transportation System (IITS) in the province of Cebu. Initiated by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), this project seeks to integrate a monorail system, a cable car system, and the BRT to provide efficient transportation and answer the worsening traffic in the province of Cebu.
This project is funded by the World Bank and Agence Francaise de Development and its project implementation is spearheaded by the DOTr and NEDA.
The BRT project has 2 phases. The first phase will span from N. Bacalso Avenue (located near the South Bus Terminal) up to the Provincial Capitol through the Osmena Boulevard. Whereas the second phase of the project, which traverses Bulacao, Talisay City (southern part of Cebu) to Talamban. (Northern part), is targeted to be fully operational by March 2022.
The Cebu BRT has already seen delays in the actual project implementation. Originally, the first phase was supposed to start last October 2016, only to be reset to December 2017, and eventually to January 2020.
Now, it seems that the project will be further delayed to December 2021.
With this, Congressman Raul del Mar of the Cebu City North District has recently made an appeal to the DOTr and NEDA to hasten the badly needed BRT project. He said that it seemed like the project has been stuck in the very slow bureaucratic process, with the said project already failing twice to meet its targeted deadlines.
According to del Mar, had the project only followed the original timelines, it would have been fully operational already on the first quarter of this year, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A recent report from the DOTr claimed that the BRT project is still undergoing review of its engineering design. Afterwards, only then can the DOTr proceed with the procurement process. The Commission on Audit (COA) has likewise flagged the project for delays in implementation.
In COA’s 2019 consolidated report last September 8, 2020, the BRT project has already incurred a P29.48 million of commitment fees dating back from 2015 to 2019 due to the delays.
BRT Stations renders
Check out these artist renders of the proposed Cebu BRT stations by a famous Cebuano furniture designer, Kenneth Cobonpue.
BRT to partially operate by end 2021
Despite all these delays, Cebuanos are still very hopeful for the successful project implementation in order to address the worsening traffic not only Cebu City, but in the neighbouring cities and towns as well.
Cebu BRT will focus its operations initially in the south of Cebu and will be operating buses that will serve in preparation for the BRT’s operation.
The first phase of Cebu BRT is scheduled for completion by end 2021.