• Korean firm wins design contract for Cebu BRT

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    A KOREAN firm won the detailed engineering design and construction supervision contract for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced.

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    The DOTC said it awarded the $2.9 million plus P67.8 million design and construction supervision contract for the Cebu BRT to Korean firm Kunhwa Engineering and Consulting Co. Ltd.

    “The $2.9 million is a World Bank loan and the P67.8 million is the Philippine counterpart for the contract cost,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.

    In May, the DOTC obtained the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) approval for the construction of the country’s first Bus Rapid Transit system in Cebu.

    The BRT system aims to deliver a fast, convenient, and cost-effective commuting option to residents of Cebu and Manila.

    The Cebu BRT is a transport system with around 176 buses that will run through dedicated and exclusive bus-ways from Bulacao to Talamban in Cebu, with a link to Cebu’s South Road Property, and will serve an estimated 3330,000 passengers a day when it opens in 2018.

    The buses will also traverse Cebu City’s business districts, residential areas, shopping centers and tourist locations. There will be 33 stations along the corridor and a bus will be made available at each station every two to five minutes.

    In July 2014, DOTC said that 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.

    The DOTC 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.

    The transportation agency believes that BRTs are game-changers because 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.

    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.

    DOTC is now proposing a Manila BRT to serve the Quezon Circle-Manila City Hall route.

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