Gov’t urged to junk P60B LRT-1 extension project
MANILA, Philippines—A Filipino entrepreneur is urging the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to drop plans to spend P60 billion to extend the LRT line 1 to Cavite.
Instead, the government should consider building a bus rapid transit (BRT) line, which would cost only P30 billion, said inventor Francis Yuseco Jr., holder of patents on mass transport technology.
Yuseco said a well-organized bus system that would run on a set schedule on a dedicated stretch of road would be faster to implement and cheaper to run than a train line.
“Why are we insisting on another LRT system when we can barely afford it?” Yuseco said in a recent interview.
The government plans to extend the existing LRT line 1 train line from Baclaran, Pasay to Bacoor, Cavite. The bidding for the project was set for January next year.
The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase, worth P30 billion, covers the civil works and electromechanical component which will be funded by the private sector. The second phase involves the acquisition of new trains, which will be funded by the government.
Yuseco said a BRT system could link to the existing LRT line and use the alignment planned for the Cavite extension. “This project was originally proposed for Edsa, but the government opted to go with the MRT (Metro Rail Transit),” he said.
“That financial fiasco is being absorbed by the government,” Yuseco said, referring to the P7 billion in subsidy that taxpayers foot to keep the MRT running.
Yuseco said the BRT system was initially dismissed as an unproven technology. “But when the government found out a similar system being used in Curitiba Brazil, we suddenly want a BRT line,” Yuseco said.
The government has plans to build a BRT line for Cebu City, which would have 176 buses and would run from Bulacao to Talamban, with a link to the booming South Road Property area. About 330,000 passengers are expected to use the BRT line every day.
The Cebu BRT will have 33 stations with buses passing each station every two to five minutes.