The Transportation Department said on Friday it is mulling over the conversion of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 into a bus rapid transit system similar to those of Hong Kong and Shanghai in China.
“I’m thinking of converting the LRT-2 into a BRT system wherein we will remove the rails. It’s not new, I copied it to Hong Kong and Shanghai. If you put the right buses, if you do the right technology, there can even be more and it’s cheaper,” Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade told reporters.
Tugade said the headway for BRT was shorter than the average 4.5 minutes for LRT.
“It’s not yet final. We are seriously studying it,” Tugade said, adding the LRT Line 2 was now 14 years old.
The existing LRT2 is a 13.8-kilometer mass transit line, which runs across five cities in Metro Manila, namely Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City, San Juan and Manila. It passes the major thoroughfares of Marcos Highway, Aurora Boulevard, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, Legarda Street and Recto Avenue.
The LRT2 was built at a cost of P31 billion in soft loans funded mainly by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
The previous government had awarded a P2.27-billon contract to construct the extension of the existing LRT 2 to Masinag in Antipolo.
The LRT 2 east extension project involves adding 4.2 kilometers to the railway from the existing Santolan station at Marcos Highway, Pasig City, all the way to the intersection of Marcos and Sumulong highways in Masinag, Antipolo.
The Aquino administration also planned to exit the LRT Line 2 to Pier 4 in Manila from Recto.
The project will have a total length of 3.02 kilometers and add three stations, including Tutuban (located next to the Cluster Mall); Divisoria (west of Recto Avenue and Asuncion Street intersection) and Pier 4 (located 50 meters north of Zaragoza Street).
Earlier, the government awarded the detailed engineering, design and construction supervision contract for the 23-kilometer Cebu BRT system to Kunhwa Engineering & Consulting Co. Ltd.
The project will entail building segregated BRT bus-ways from Bulacao to Ayala, with a link to the South Road Property, a feeder service between Ayala and Talamban with signal priority, 33 stations to service 330,000 people per day in 2015, 176 buses, an area stop light control for the entire Cebu City and a central transport control room.
Once completed, the project can field 433,000 individual trips per day, resulting in savings of 25 minutes of travel time and P7.50 in fares.
Compared with a rail service, a BRT would cost 5 to 10 percent lower and take less time of two years to construct.
The Transportation Department will implement the project, which is scheduled to start commercial operations by 2018.
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