Like garbage or solid waste, traffic congestion becomes major by-product of Cebu’s urbanization. One of Metro Cebu’s major challenge is how to address the worsening traffic congestion. One good option is to have a mass transport system within the metropolitan area.
Metro Cebu’s traffic demand will continue to experience rapid growth of over three percent towards the next century, says the case study Metropolitan Cebu: The Challenge of Definition and Management by Ruben Mercado of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
Several other studies recommend the need for a mass transport system in Metro Cebu. But the kind of mass transport system Cebu needs is currently discussed.
Mass transport system is almost synonymous to Light Rail Transit (LRT) or the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). The LRT/MRT system is suggested for Metro Cebu. Cebuanos, upon hearing this, get so excited until the cost of constructing and maintaining it was revealed.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena, has been suggesting and pushing Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT). Obviously, Mayor Tommy’s mind is already nailed to BRT although several studies are yet to be done.
There is unsolicited proposal for Cebu Light Rail Transit (LRT) pushed by most of Metro Cebu chief executives and the DOTC. It seems Cebu LRT is coming too close not until Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena announced that he still wait until the studies of BRT are done before he can give a stand (recommendation) to LRT project.
Some Cebu leaders considered Mayor Osmena’s action as putting death to LRT.
The talk about BRT and LRT has resurrect once again. It divides people. Many want to see LRT but some argue that Cebu needs BRT.
In October 21 news article, Sun Star Cebu compared the costs of BRT and LRT. The report cited figures from the National Center for Traffic Studies (NCTS).
In every kilometer:
- BRT costs USD$500,000 to USD$15 million
- A tram system costs USD$10 million to USD$20 million
- Light rail, USD$15 million to USD$40 million
- Urban rail, USD$26 million to USD$60 million
- Elevated rail, USD$50 million to USD$100 million
- Metro rail, USD$50 million to USD$320 million
Leylander of My Cebu Photoblog, asked his readers, which system should be used in Cebu, BRT or LRT? As expected his readers have varied opinion. Some favor BRT while many also support LRT system and rant about BRT. One reader commented that BRT is just a glorified/fancy name for “autobus”! … at the beginning it might sound appealing […] but watch after several years it will just be another bus but this ones an expensive bus!
What makes BRT favorable is its cost. As Leylander noted in his blog, the proposed LRT will cost P28.94 Billion. The proposed BRT will only cost P3.6 Billion. If we try to analyze it, 28.94B might even be enough to put BRT lines in Argao and Carcar.
If BRT is good and LRT is also good, why not have both? Some suggested.
BRT can compliment LRT, Mayor Tomas told reporters. Obviously, both cannot be implemented at a time. But do we really need to spend more? Should Cebuano’s need to spend more when there is less costly solution?
Cebu needs a mass transport system. But we don’t need it to be extravagant.