MANILA -- At least PHP10.2 billion has been allocated in the proposed PHP3.767-trillion national budget for 2018 to finance the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in Metro Manila and Cebu, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives said on Sunday.

In a statement, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said the Metro Manila BRT Line 1 project along the España Boulevard-Quezon Avenue route has an allocation of PHP1.76 billion, while the Line 2 project along EDSA gets an allocation of PHP3.09 billion for next year.

The 12.3-kilometer BRT Line 1 from Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) to Manila City Hall via Elliptical Road, Quezon Avenue, and Espana Boulevard is expected to serve 291,500 passengers daily in its first year of operations.

The BRT Line 1 mainly adopts a closed system with service lanes at the center, with convenient interchanges with MRT-3, PNR, LRT1, and the MRT-7 currently undergoing construction.

Meanwhile, the EDSA BRT is a 48.6-kilometer high-quality bus-based mass transportation system and a corresponding pedestrian and bicycle greenway network.  

The BRT Line 2 system consists of four corridors; namely, the main corridor along EDSA, and spur corridors along Ayala Avenue to World Trade Center, Ortigas to Bonifacio Global City, and NAIA terminals. BRT Line 2 is expected to serve 1.6 million to two million commuters daily.

Campos said the Cebu BRT project, which is projected to accommodate 330,000 riders daily, has a PHP5.37-billion allotment.

Campos is counting on the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy to harness new environment-friendly, low-emission buses for the BRT operations.

“Our cities deserve a breath of fresh air, so we definitely do not want the usual 100-percent diesel buses running through our BRT lines,” Campos said.

“Hybrid buses with battery-powered electric motors and smaller diesel engines, or possibly even buses running on cleaner fuel such as compressed natural gas, should be deployed preferably,” Campos added.

Campos also expects every BRT bus to be run by the private sector to have free high-speed Internet connectivity, digital security cameras, and a public-address system.

The mass transit system will provide safe, reliable, and comfortable rides involving buses running one after the other at a designated average speed using segregated lanes and going through dedicated stations, with a bus arriving at each station every five minutes.

The system design will also include facilities enabling passengers to conveniently get on and off buses and purchase fares with ease. (PNA)