Davao needs 1,000 modern buses to decongest traffic

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 21 December) – At least 1,000 modern buses will be needed for the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) in three years to decongest traffic here, City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Cortes said.

In an interview Wednesday, Cortes said the city government would tap the private sector that will procure the modern buses to replace over 7,500 public utility jeepneys.

“Kung walang balakid (If there’s no obstacle), we will see the buses running by 2021,” he said.

He added they plan to limit the number of operators to only three to six, including foreign players.

The operators will be known after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) completes its assessment of the proposal the city submitted three weeks ago.

Cortes said the DOTr asked for another two weeks to finish the review of the proposal containing the results of the workshops initiated by the city government on the project.

The proposal included the reconfiguration of existing intersections, acquisition of road right of way, construction of intermodal bus systems, and the social component of the project for the would-be displaced jeepney drivers., he said

“On the part of the city government, those who participate in the workshops, we don’t want them to be disadvantaged further. We want to provide opportunity to be part of new system either as investor or as an employee. The social component is the bloodiest part,” he said.

He said the DOTr is the proponent of the HPBS project that will be funded using with a loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Cortes said the city government is doing all it can to start the initial phase of the project like the retrofitting of the intersections and construction of intermodal bus systems within the three-year term of Mayor Sara Duterte that will end in 2019.

The official said the stations and reconfiguration of some intersections will make it suitable for the buses.

He said the HPBS is seen to address traffic congestion in the city, as an efficient public transport system will encourage owners of the private vehicles to ride the buses.

“The very reason why we have a lot of private cars plying the city is they do not want to experience the inconvenience of riding the jeepney,” he said.

“We need a mass transport system.  If you have a very effective public transport system, you will use the system instead of driving their own car, because it will cost them less,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)