Davao City to implement initial stages of bus system

By Digna Banzon

January 10, 2019, 10:29 am

DAVAO CITY -- The city government will be implementing the initial stages of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) project using funding support from the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

Ivan Cortez, chief of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), said Tuesday the city would initially use the funding support from DoTr - amounting to PHP200 million - while the approval of the national budget is still pending for the full implementation of the bus system.

“This is a 'go' project considering that the legislative authority to sign the Memorandum of Agreement was already approved,” Cortez said.

Cortez said this is an initial implementation of the interim bus service while the city is still pursuing the budget for the transport and traffic master plan.

HPBS is a priority project of Mayor Sara Duterte. Its study and design were crafted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The agreement is between the national government and ADB.

"Since di na ta kahulat (Since we cannot wait) we're setting aside this considering that the time frame for the loan package for the HPBS is more than a year. And if the city can look for private investors to come in and implement the project na mas dali kay daghan na gareklamo dili kauli ug sayo kay traffic kayo (that is faster because of the mounting complaints of the traffic). Our transport system is not really effective," he said.

Cortez said DOTr's funding assistance to the city is "because they saw our determination to implement the bus system, which is another level from the jeep modernization.”

Part of the PHP200 million will be used by the city for crafting of the master plan that includes new routes for the bus under the first phase, the soft infra, such as the signalization system, and maybe the compensation package as income loses for the affected operators, he added.

"We have an initial draft but it will not suffice as a master plan and we need still to do the entire plan that we want to submit to the current City Council," he said.

Once the bus routing system is approved by the city council, it will be submitted to the Land Transportation and Franchising Board for approval of the franchising.

Davao City has 29 routes for public transportation and about 7,000 to 8,000 PUJs are plying these routes. With the bus system, only 990 buses are needed for the routes. (PNA)