After obtaining the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) approval in May to construct the country’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Cebu, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is now proposing a Manila BRT to serve the Quezon Circle-Manila City Hall route.
The BRT system aims to deliver a fast, convenient, and cost-effective commuting option to residents of Cebu and Manila.
“BRT systems around the world have been successful in mobilizing masses of people in dense urban settings, getting them to their destinations reliably through fixed schedules, efficiently through segregated lanes and priority passage, comfortably and safely through modern, well-equipped buses, and affordably through relatively lower capital costs and maintenance expenditures,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
There are at least five generally accepted components of a BRT system:
1. Modern buses with technical specifications designed precisely for the system, such as bus floors having the same height as station platforms which would save time for boarding and alighting;
2. A segregated lane or “busway” which only BRT buses can ply;
3. BRT stations at locations identified to be most suited for riders;
4. Continuously-operating services programmed to meet passenger demand; and
5. Intelligent transport systems or information technology that ensure the efficient operations of the system, such as automatic signaling which controls traffic lights to ensure that the BRT buses are not impeded during trips.
“BRTs are game-changers. They are as effective as rail systems in terms of moving people around quickly and efficiently, but are much cheaper to build and are faster to develop,” Abaya said.
”Since they will be granted as concessions, their riders will not be at the mercy of ‘colorum’ vehicles or transport strikes. They will be spared from unnecessary disruptions and unsafe traveling conditions,” he added.
The BRT concept began in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974, but the “BRT” name and the system’s popularity did not arise until it was introduced in Bogota, Colombia in 2000. Currently, there are over 200 BRT systems either operating or being built worldwide.
The DOTC is now studying other possible BRT locations in Metro Manila.