• Transport project in Davao City opposed

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Filipino transport and drivers’ group Transmission Piston-Southern Mindanao is against the government’s Urban Sustainable Transport Project.

    The million-dollar project, which is being implemented by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Davao City government and the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, aims to put an end to the worsening traffic problem and improve the city’s outdated traffic system.

    However, many drivers are opposing the project, saying it would seriously affect them as well as the poor. Recently, they rallied in front of the City Council building to air their concerns.

    “The strong economic growth has generated a rapidly growing demand for travel within urban centers like Davao. Worsening congestion, longer travel times and costs, deteriorating local air quality, and a failing road safety record are all symptoms of a transport system under pressure. Sustainable urban transport systems have modern, efficient and affordable public transport services at their core,” according to an ADB report.

    The ADB added that public transport accounts for 80 percent of trips in the area. Tricycles are used for short trips while jeepneys or multi-cab vehicles are utilized for longer distances. But it bewailed the system’s old regulations.

    “The city lacks an effective transport master plan and institutions responsible for managing urban transport presently do not coordinate [with regards to]planning and enforcement. Current public transport routes, the coverage area, connectivity, and the frequency of service are poorly planned and fail to provide satisfactory service,” the report said.

    This viewed is shared by Kunio Senga, director general of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, who said: “Public transport is not a choice for many; it is the only mode available to them. The vast majority of Davao’s population does not have access to private vehicles or motorcycles and are captive public transport users. It is our duty to provide services that are safe, clean and affordable, and allow passengers to travel to the places they need to go at times when they need to be there.”

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