By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE GOVERNMENT plans to begin construction of a 12.30-kilometer segregated bus lane from Manila City Hall to Philcoa in Quezon City next year or early 2023, the Transportation department said.

“Construction is targeted to start in end 2022 or early 2023,” the Department of Transportation told BusinessWorld on Aug. 6 when asked for an update on the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line 1 project.

“Procurement for the social management consultant and technical support consultant is ongoing. Updates on the Feasibility Study designs are about to commence,” the department added.

The segregated bus lane project, which is expected to be completed in 2023, will have designated passenger boarding and alighting stations and passenger terminals.

The Metro Manila BRT Line 1 is projected to serve up to 290,000 commuters daily once completed.

The World Bank is funding the project, which is being implemented by the Transportation department in coordination with the Manila and Quezon City governments.

The World Bank approved the financing for the project in 2017. According to its website, the project’s total cost is $109.41 million, while the committed amount is $40.70 million.

The loan for the project is set to expire on Nov. 30, 2022.

“The objective of… (the Metro Manila BRT Line 1) for Philippines is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of the public transport system along the project corridor in Metro Manila in an environmentally sustainable manner,” the World Bank said.

The World Bank is also funding the 13.2-kilometer Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (Cebu BRT) project. 

The Cebu BRT hopes to serve as many as 60,000 passengers daily once fully operational in May 2022.

The World Bank said the committed amount for the project is $116.00 million, while the total project cost is $228.50 million.

“The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project of the Philippines has an objective to improve the over-all performance of the urban passenger transport system in the project corridor in Cebu City in terms of the quality and level of service, safety, and environmental efficiency,” it noted.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade wants to achieve partial operability before the end of 2021.

Once completed, the Cebu BRT “will be fielding 250 buses with at least 21 stations,” the Transportation department said on its website.