Bus Operators Want Inclusion In New Davao Transport System

Two Davao-based bus operators have expressed participation in the city’s High Priority Bus System (HPBS) project, which is now a work in progress with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Davao City planning head Ivan Cortez said the bus operators are already operating in Davao City, but begged off to name the operators.

Cortez said the HPBS is a PHP3.6 billion transport project. The feasibility study conducted by a consultant commissioned by ADB will be submitted to Department of Transportation (DOTr) by the end of the month.

“Once the FS is submitted to the DOTr, it will have time to package everything but not necessarily taking in 100 percent what the consultant has proposed,” he said. In turn, DOTr will submit the feasibility study to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) by May 2018.

Earlier, Kelly Bird, the ADB country director for the Philippines, said the design of the project will be completed in 12 to 18 months.

The design includes the bus terminals in five to six locations, bus stops, bus lighting stations and other related infrastructure.

Cortez also said that under the bus system project, the units will be provided by the private operators who will be accredited to be part of the system. A minimum of three operators and a maximum of six can be accredited. He said it is open for international bidding although most of the time if there will be international bidders they partner with the local bus operators in the bidding.

“The HPBS is funded through a sovereign loan as what the Department of Finance earlier announced,” he said. He said the loan component will cover the infrastructure and social development package.

Cortez was hopeful the target for the proposed HPBS in Davao City will be implemented in 2021 although Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio wants it in the next two years.

“We will work this out with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on the possibility,” he said.

In the modernized public transport, the buses plying the routes will have an electronic digital system where the routes are displayed with wifi and can accommodate passengers of about 50 to 100 depending on the kind of bus.

He said the entire road network of the city will be covered by the system with buses passing through 29 routes from the current 1,032 routes of the jeepneys. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)

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