Australian firm to complete draft masterplan on Davao traffic, transport

DAVAO CITY – Australian-based consultancy firm GHD Group will complete the draft of Davao City’s Comprehensive Transport and Traffic Master Plan (CTTMP) within the first semester of 2019, City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Cortez said Tuesday.

Cortez said GHD Group has already started drafting the plan, a requirement for the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS), to address the city’s traffic woes.

The plan is necessary for a “sustainable and seamless mobility” in the city, he said.

He said they hope the plan will be approved by the city council this year so that the local government could implement the interim bus service.

He said they target to submit the completed draft to the 18th city council before it will adjourn on June 30, 2019.

Cortez said the plan will be submitted to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory for approval before the drafting of a franchising system.

He said part of the P200 million received by the city government from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will be set aside for the drafting of the plan and preparation and implementation of the first phase of the HPBS.

He said the preparation may include implementing some soft infrastructure such as enhancement of the traffic signalization system and compensation package for affected jeepney drivers and operators.

Cortez said the city government wants to hasten the implementation of the HPBS upon seeing a growing demand for a better and more efficient mass public transport system.

The Asian Development Bank previously announced it will set aside some $70 million or P3.644 billion as a loan counterpart for the bus service.

Cortez said the approval period of the loan package takes more than a year. But he added the local government could no longer wait for its approval given the current traffic condition.

He said the routes for the initial phase have yet to be determined but they are looking at servicing the city’s central business district due to high concentration of passengers during peak hours.

He said they have yet to finalize how many phases will comprise the entire HPBS but added they have already identified 29 routes.

He said the interim bus service will be implemented to get the passengers acquainted with HPBS.

He added the jeepneys will be phased out when the implementation of the HPBS goes full throttle.

He said the city plans to allow only one operator for every route to make it easy for the local government to pinpoint responsibility in case passengers feel dissatisfaction with the bus service.

“We will easily know who is responsible if a problem happens or the passengers are disenfranchised,” he said.

He added they will coordinate with DOTr and the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction of the bus terminal as it needs acquisition of properties and road right of way.

He said the bus operator for the initial phase will be required to have his own terminal.

“Even the bus stops and bus stations, we will have to coordinate that with DPWH. Since they will pave the streets, they will already consider the acquisition of road right of way for the bus stops,” he said.

Cortez said the full implementation of the HPBS requires 990 buses, which are more than the capacity of 7,000 to 8,000 jeepneys plying various routes in the city at any given time.

He said at least three depots will have to be constructed for the entire project. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)