THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said Wednesday that a bus service meant to serve as an interim form of transport ahead of the completion of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will begin operations next week.

“The Cebu Interim Bus Service (CIBUS), a trunk service that will be used to augment the transport system in Cebu City until the completion of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), will start operations on March 16,” the department said in a statement.

It said the service will be the “precursor project” intended to “mimic the BRT System, so as to allow Cebu commuters to readily adapt to the new culture of instilling predictability in their daily commute.”

The interim bus service will initially operate in southern Cebu City in preparation for the BRT, which is scheduled for completion by the last quarter of 2021.

The interim bus service will have 17 bus stops, connecting the Fuente Osmeña rotonda to the SRP (South Road Properties) area.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said: “After a long wait, the CIBUS will be operational. It will serve for the convenience of Cebu commuters until the Cebu BRT, which is designed to accommodate a larger passenger volume is established and is up and running.”

The department said the P17-billion World Bank-funded BRT system is part of its integrated intermodal transport system for Metro Cebu.

The DoTr said the BRT project is currently undergoing “review and validation” of documents and detailed engineering design by the on-board technical support consultant.

It said 250 buses will be deployed upon the completion of the BRT, which will have at least 21 stations.

“Timelines of the project include Phase 1 (Cebu South Bus Terminal to Capitol) for partial operations by December 2021 and Phase 2 (Bulacao/Talisay to Talamban) for partial operations by March 2022,” it said. — Arjay L. Balinbin