DOTr mulls bus rapid transit system for Metro
The Department of Transportation is studying the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Metro Manila via the conversion of the existing Light Rail Transit Line 2 that runs from Recto Avenue in Manila to Santolan along Marcos Highway in Pasig.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade revealed Friday this was one of the options government was considering to cut congestion in traffic-strangled Metro Manila.
BRTs, which are is a specialized and dedicated bus systems, would be cheaper to implement and could carry more people “with the right buses”, Tugade said.
“This is not a new concept. We’re just copying from Hong Kong and Shanghai,” Tugade said during an event organized by Colliers International today. He was referring to some of the jurisdictions where the BRT has been successfully implemented.
Some Chinese cities have shifted from light rail to the BRT system, citing the need to cut heavy subsidies typically required to run a train system. Hong Kong’s MTR, however, stands out as a profitable major railway since it also earns revenue from developing real estate around its train network.
Tugade said it would be easier to convert the LRT-2 since there was currently no private sector involvement in the train line unlike the busier LRT-1 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
He gave few details, since it was still under study, but the concept called for the removal of LRT-2’s rails, and allow buses to run instead of trains.
The LRT-2, which opened in 2003, is the newest of Metro Manila’s three elevated train systems. Even then, Tugade said the LRT-2 was already showing signs of ageing and wear and tear.
The operations and maintenance of the LRT-2 was among the public private partnership projects (PPPs) left hanging by the Aquino administration. Already, four groups have pre-qualified for the PPP. Tugade’s latest statement casts doubt on whether the PPP deal would still proceed under President Duterte.
The Transportation Department under President Aquino had studied a BRT for Metro Manila before. This was for the Quirino Highway to Manila City Hall route. The project, however, never materialized. CDG/rga
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