By Ben O. de Vera
The bus rapid transit (BRT) project that will connect Manila and Quezon City is being fast-tracked to serve as a viable public transportation system amid a COVID-19 new normal of social distancing, the World Bank said.
In a report, the Washington-based multilateral lender said the P5.4-billion Metro Manila BRT 1 Line was “making progress amid the COVID-19 pandemic; resources were also mobilized under the project to support the reopening of public transport services in Metro Manila, starting with public transport reopening on Edsa corridor.”
The World Bank is financing the 11.5-kilometer line one of the Metro Manila BRT traversing Quezon Avenue and España Boulevard, which will serve up to 300,000 passengers daily once operational.
Also in the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) pipeline is the P37.8-billion, 48.6-km Metro Manila BRT line two along Edsa.
Like trains, BRT runs on its own dedicated lanes, carrying large numbers of travelers faster, safer and more reliably. Unlike trains that run on rails, BRT uses buses, making the system simpler and cheaper to construct, operate and maintain.
“To keep the momentum, the DOTr needs to secure budget for the current calendar year 2020 to proceed with the procurement of key consultant services,” the World Bank said, referring to the project’s implementing agency.
“At the same time, the DOTr needs to engage the two local government units, Quezon City and the City of Manila, as soon as possible,” the World Bank added.
Metro Manila BRT Line 1 is expected to cut travel time between Manila City Hall and Quezon Memorial Circle to 43 minutes from two hours at present through a network of 167 high-quality buses, World Bank documents showed.