What’s good for Cebu: BRT, LRT or Both?

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.

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Bus rapid transit system in Cebu soon

Cebu City’s plan to adopt the bus rapid transit (BRT) system excites supporters and likewise raise the eyebrows of skeptics.

Several questions are asked. Is this just another solution that later become a problem? Will this only introduce a newly dressed-up buses that look novel at the start but still clog city streets? Will this system displace jeepney drivers and operators? Is BRT better that light rail transit (LRT) or metro rail transit (MRT)? Is this by far the best mass transport system for Cebu?

There are proposals to establish LRT system in Cebu City and whole metro Cebu but the city government is considering bus rapid transit system.

In Cebu Daily News report, Cebu City Planning and Development Officer Nigel Paul Villarete told that BRT system will be a more feasible mode of public transportation for Cebu City because its capital costs are lower compared to a metro rail system.

Cost is not the only variable being considered. Bus rapid transit (BRT) system has been admired and proven for its effectiveness in easing mobility of the people. Besides the system has been found flexible on its implementation.

In her visit to Cebu, President Gloria Arroyo expressed her support to the BRT project. Several sectors already expressed support while some are voicing out their doubts.

Recently, the Cebu City Planning and Development Office (CCPDO) invited members of  SkyscraperCity – Cebu and the Cebu Bloggers Society to present the principles, concept, and plan of establishment of BRT system in Cebu. The presentation clarified issues and misunderstanding of the BRT system. I attended as member Cebu Bloggers Society.

Cebu City is eying the  bus rapid transit system as the best solution for mass transport. Not only Cebu City but the whole Metro Cebu needs a mass transport system. It seems that our jeepneys are no longer viable. Considering the cost of putting light railway system (LRT), I think the city is on the right track when it considers BRT.

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