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Work on Cebu’s bus transit system set

CEBU CITY – Work on the proposed Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Cebu is set to begin in the first quarter of 2017, with the project expected to be operational after two years.

Rafael Yap, Cebu BRT project implementing office chief, said there is no stopping the start of the BRT project, which was proposed to ease traffic congestion in Metro Cebu. Once operational, the Cebu BRT system will be a first in the country.

The 16-kilometer BRT system will stretch from Natalio Bacalso Avenue in Barangay Bulacao to Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue in Barangay Talamban. It will involve 33 stations with 176 buses and is expected to be operational in two years.

At least 3,000 jeepney drivers and operators stand to lose their livelihood when the BRT system will be implemented by 2018, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 7 earlier said.

About 2,614 jeepney drivers, 912 operators, 1,191 franchises and 22 routes are set to be affected with the introduction of the BRT, which will see high-quality buses operating on a dedicated bus lane by 2018.

Yap, however, said his office has already coordinated with the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to train jeepney drivers with various livelihood programs to prepare them once the BRT system becomes operations.

Initially, the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) opened 550 slots for the training of PUJ operators. However, only 34 availed themselves of the program.

The project is an employment assistance program, which provides skills training to be given by Tesda in partnership with the Department of Transportation and Communication.

The move is aimed to provide new livelihood skills to those who will be affected by the rerouting and construction of the BRT system. (MARS MOSQUEDA JR.)