Davao’s public bus project could be opened to international bidders

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Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio -- PHILSTAR

DAVAO CITY — The High Priority Bus System (HPBS) project here could be opened to international bidders, with about 1,000 units required for the mass transport system, according to a city official.

City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Chin Cortez told the media that under the comprehensive public transport plan that is being developed, these buses are expected to replace most of the more than 7,000 public utility jeepneys plying the city.

“These mini buses are the same buses you see abroad,” Mr. Cortez said, noting that the network would include a main line, intermediate, and local feeders.

The HPBS project study is being undertaken by the city government with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB started its study on the HPBS in mid-2016, with the initial findings submitted to the city government in April.

“There are already routes that have workable plans,” Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in September when she announced the bus plan.

Mr. Cortez said the city’s Transportation and Traffic Planning Committee that is working with the ADB is currently in the evaluation and assessment stage for the HPBS loan package.

“Perhaps we will decide the loan package by August next year,” he said.

Mr. Cortez said the HPBS and the overall local transport plan would be in line with the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) released by the Department of Transportation.

“The main meat of the OFG is to modernize,” Mr. Cortez said.

The target date of fully implementing the HPBS is 2021, while an initial number of buses could be deployed by 2020.

Mr. Cortez said a modern and efficient public transport system is expected to reduce the estimated 80,000 private vehicles currently plying the city’s roads.

“That is what is happening in other countries (with) a very effective (public) transport system. The very reason why we have a lot of private cars plying the streets is because they do not want to experience the inconvenience of a PUJ,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo