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Gov’t takes first step to privatize Edsa busway

Gov’t takes first step to privatize Edsa busway

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By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

Four big-ticket mass transport projects, including the Edsa Busway system, are set to undergo feasibility studies for privatization as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) moves to improve commuting experience in the country.

The DOTr and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines recently inked contracts for consultancy services covering the busway project, Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry Project (MAPALLAF) and the North Long Haul Inter-Regional Railway Project.

“Through the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF), a revolving fund managed and administered by the PPP Center, the DOTr is assured of access to best practices and technology transfer through international and national experts,” PPP Center deputy executive director Eleazar Ricote said.

The PDMF is a fund managed by the PPP Center to support infrastructure projects in the country.

“With this contract signing for four projects today, we are certain that the feasibility studies of these projects will be thoroughly guided through the expertise of the consultants and experts we are engaging,” the official added.

The DOTr has been looking for a private concessionaire to improve the operation of the Edsa Busway, a dedicated median lane for city buses traveling from Monumento, Caloocan to Pasay.

The department said the project might also include the rollout of electric buses, which can reduce carbon emission from Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare.

Recently, business group Management Association of the Philippines called on the government to expedite this undertaking to boost public transport efficiency.

More in the pipeline

Cebu BRT is a bus service with dedicated routes or priority lanes traversing a 13.8-kilometer (km) corridor from South Road Properties through Mambaling up to IT Park. The public transportation system—which is designed to have 17 bus stations, two terminals and one depot—has a 160,000-passenger capacity once fully operational.

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The MAPALLAF project includes the development of a ferry system traversing major cities in Metro Manila and an adjacent province. It seeks to become an alternative mode of transport in these areas with high population density.

The 800-km inter-regional railway will link Ilocos and Cagayan Valley. The DOTr said this would “provide better transportation for passenger and goods, linking rapidly urbanizing economic centers in the northern and northeastern parts of Luzon.”

In June, the PPP Center granted funding support for DOTr’s North Integrated Transport System project.

The transport project seeks to improve commuter experience with the construction of an integrated, multimodal transport and logistics systems designed to be a multi-level and mixed-use terminal facility in the northern National Capital Region.

It also seeks to reduce traffic congestion along the busy thoroughfare of Edsa by relocating bus terminals in Quezon City to the planned terminal.