Cebu City – The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) System will be partially operational by the end of this year and fully operational early 2023.
Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard ‘Jonji’ Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas made this disclosure during the Cabinet Report program.
“The DOTr (Department of Transportation), through Secretary Arthur Tugade, maintains that even if we are struck by the COVID pandemic, they remain to target partial operation of the project by December 2021 and full operation by January 2023,” Asec Gonzales reported. “The next big step for Cebu BRT is land acquisition and bidding.”
Last February 8, CBRT Package 1 had reached the publication and bidding stage, he added. Package 1 is scheduled for completion by December this year.
CBRT Package 1 comprise of four bus stations from the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) up to the Capitol area, along the Osmeña Blvd, Cebu City, Gonzales explained.
According to Gonzales, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is in charge of the expansion of the national road while the concerned local government unit will be responsible for local roads.
The first package is around 2.38 kilometers of dedicated bus lane from CSBT to the Capitol area. On the other hand, Package 2 and 3 involve the establishment of trunk service from SRP to CSBT via Natalio Bacalso Avenue and from Capitol to IT Park with terminals at SRP and IT Park.
There is an ongoing finalization of parcillary mapping for the detailed engineering design for Package 2, which will cover 10.8 kilometers.
“There are delays in consultancy and in the parcillary mapping because the team could not optimally go to the ground due to the pandemic,” Gonzales explained.
Upon its completion, the CBRT will be fielding 250 buses with at least 21 stations, he added. It will serve around 60,000 passengers a day.
Packages 1, 2 and 3 will form Phase 1 of the CBRT while for Phase 2, the plan is to convert feeder to trunk service, Gonzales said.
The Cebu BRT system will operate along both a dedicated transit way and in mixed traffic segment. The project corridor is about 23 kilometer long, from Bulacao to Talamban including South Road Properties.
The project is being supported by the Cebu City government, the Cebu Provincial government and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino.
The CBRT project is a component of the planned Metro Cebu Integrated Inter-modal Transportation System or (MCIITS).
“The MCIITS seeks to integrate a monorail system, a cable car system and BRT to provide an efficient public land transportation,” Gonzales explained. “It will answer the problem on traffic congestion in Metro Cebu.”
Aside from the CBRT, there will be several components such as monorail and ferry boat services from Carcar City to Danao City as well as cable car from Lahug area to Busay, Cebu City.
Upon the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte on addressing the traffic congestion problem in Cebu, government agencies, such as Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Transportation, together with OPAV are working on an intermodal transport system for Metro Cebu.
At present, the Cebu Interim Bus service (CIBus) has been operating for months now. It is a precursor transport service that mimics the CBRT and aims to improve connectivity and mobility in Cebu City.
There are 20 low floor, low entry bus units operated by Bacolod-based Vallacar Transit, which also operates the Ceres Bus.
The first CIBus route is from Fuente Osmeña down to SRP via Natalio Bacalso Avenue and vice versa. But it had extended its service last September 9 last year from IT Park to SRP. By operating during the pandemic, CIBus has helped Cebuano commuters, Gonzales noted.
“In addition, the CIBus also ensures a more comfortable and reliable public transport service with its low floor, low entry modern conservation buses with a capacity of 37 passengers,” he pointed out. However, due to COVID restrictions, it can only accommodate 20 commuters.
Gonzales then called on Cebuanos to try to ride on the CIBus to experience the convenience and comfort it provides commuters.