Davao’s interim bus system to start next year – Mayor Sara

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Dec) – To help facilitate the implementation of the interim bus system in this city, the local government will shell out P250 million from its local funds for the initial phase of the project, Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Duterte told reporters in an interview on Monday that the interim bus system would be implemented by the national government, pending the approval of the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTMP), at a cost of P18.6 billion

The DPTMP, also known as the High Priority Bus System (HPBS), seeks to improve the mass public transport and to address the worsening traffic congestion in the city.

Following the National Economic Development Authority-Board (NEDA-Board) approval of the project last November 25, the mayor said she expects an expeditious development for this proposed project at the national level.

The presidential daughter said she is uninterested on running for any national elective position primarily because she wants to get the bus modernization project completed in her term.

“It’s not in my plan,” Duterte said, referring to seeking national elective post. “I only want to finish the bus system for Davao City. Beyond that plane, there’s nothing else,” she said.

About 7,200 jeepney drivers and operators will be affected once the operation of the modern bus system goes full throttle, according to lawyer Tristan Dwight Domingo, assistant city administrator. The HPBS will need around 1,000 bus drivers.

In a press release last December 5, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that the bus system is scheduled for implementation from 2020 to 2023, which aims to “provide an efficient and affordable mode of transport for Davaoeños through the delivery” of a modern HPBS.

It added that the interconnected bus services would be prioritized along the 137-kilometer core network, and 489 km of feeder routes.

The proposed project would be funded through an official development assistance (ODA), covering three components: Public Transport System Improvement, Institutional Capacity Strengthening, and Social Development Program.

Domingo said the national government will pay for the compensation package for jeepney drivers and operators who will be displaced.

The press release stated that the HPBS or the project’s public transport system improvement component will involve the provision of hierarchical, interconnected bus services along major arterial roads, as well as an extensive network of feeder services covering the entire urban area.

Once operational, the HPBS will have 29 bus routes divided into the following four tiers: MetroDavao (will form the core services that connect all major commercial centers along the five routes), DavaoInter (will run along with eight routes connecting the inner urban areas directly to the Davao Central Business District), DavaoFeeder (will run along nine routes linking smaller centers and areas of more dispersed populations to the MetroDavao services), and DavaoLocal (will provide a link between the outer rural areas of the City and main transport system or the integrated terminals). (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)