LATELY, I have been caught up in online debates on social media with respect to the proposed Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT). As I have said previously, this system will not work in the planned route. It will ultimately make Cebu a living hell. The proponents of the BRT have a beautiful presentation that makes it appear as if it is the solution to our mass transit and traffic problems. The problem with the presentation is that it is not up to scale. If you watch it carefully there is no way Osmeña Blvd. can be made that wide wherein it can accept the BRT lane plus an additional lane for cars from each direction with a huge sidewalk.
Some people are saying at least it is a start, better than doing nothing. No! Doing nothing would actually be better that spending P1.3 billion on something that will not work.
Remember some months ago an environmentalist group succeeded in convincing the city to try its road sharing project by closing half of Osmeña Blvd. and dedicating that half exclusively to bicycles and pedestrians. This experiment was done on a Sunday at a time where there were the least number of cars on the road. The result was gridlock. The experiment was a complete failure. Half of Osmeña Blvd. is what will be left if the BRT pushes through. Even if the jeepneys are eliminated, we still have the private vehicles, delivery vans, taxis, tour buses, etc.
I am challenging the City and its officials to conduct a simple inexpensive experiment before they jump into this BRT project. For a few hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on a weekday, remove all the jeepneys that are on the proposed BRT route and block off the lanes that will be used by the BRT, then assess the traffic. This experiment will completely show whether or not the BRT is viable in Cebu. I bet traffic will be at its worse and that traffic is what Cebu will have to deal with if the BRT project will push through.
Cebu contributes a significant amount of money to our national economy, thus, Cebu deserves a better mass transit project than the BRT. For me the BRT is a conseulo de bobo project from the national government, a project we Cebuanos should not accept. We deserve something modern that is either above ground or underground. Cebu needs space. For a mass transit system to work, space has to be created for it. The proposed BRT system does not use new space, our available congested space is just reallocated.
I call on all the Cebuanos to vehemently oppose this BRT project. It is a waste of money and it will ruin Cebu.
MODERN BUSES. There are 77 new modern buses that will serve Cebu — well not really. In reality, it will serve SM malls, shuttling customers to them. The idea is to remove the jeepneys that ply the routes these buses would ply. This has the jeepney drivers up in arms and are protesting against it.
Jeepneys are means of transportation of the 20th century — we are now in the 21st Century. It is about time that these jeepneys go.
There is, however, a big problem by having these buses. I have not yet seen a bus driver who has good road etiquette and discipline. All of them are abusive and certainly do not drive like professionals the way they should. It only takes one abusive bus driver to cause total chaos in our tiny roads. Before we allow these buses to ply our streets, our City government should take the initiative in setting standards for the drivers of these buses. They should be trained and tested. The City should take the initiative as we all know that the LTO and LTFRB are lame ducks.