Mayor wants HPBS operational by 2019

MAYOR Sara Duterte has asked the proponents of the high priority bus system (HPBS) to implement its initial plans by 2019, as the plan has failed to hit its target.

In an interview after the conferment of the 2018 Datu Bago awardees at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Duterte said the proponents have estimated the running of one route that is still undefined at the moment.

“That will be either by the end of this year or next year,” Mayor Duterte said.

According to the Mayor, the project is already delayed as it is.

In case the implementation exceeds Mayor Duterte’s term in 2019, Duterte said she wants to see what the proponents wish to do beyond the target date.

“At least show me what you intend to do after 2019,” Duterte said.

Earlier, the city government said it was still consolidating a win-win solution for all stakeholders, especially jeepneys that may want to invest in the HPBS as investors.

Under a scrappage proposal, owners of old jeepneys would be encouraged to sell their units for around P80,000 or the prevailing price of scrap metal, whichever is higher, according to the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) in an earlier interview.

This is based on the omnibus plan of the Department of Transportation that would remove vehicles that are non-Euro 4 compliant off the roads and replace them with modern vehicles instead.

In areas such as Metro Manila, the vehicles include electric jeepneys, among other alternative modes of transportation.

In the case of Davao City, the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the plan for the HPBS is along the recommended programs of the transportation agencies.

The HPBS, in itself, is a plan around eight to 10 years in the making, with the initial studies being conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and consultancy firms.

According to that study, the transportation system needed for the city is an HPBS despite the demand of then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for a train system here.

The ADB will set aside $70 million as loan for the national government to pursue the transport modernization.

“This is still at the design stage. As we know, it is a high priority project. We hope that most of that (design) be completed shortly,” said ADB-Philippines country director Kelly Bird in a recent press conference in line on Philippine Economic Briefing at SMX Davao Convention Center.

The project, he said, includes the establishment of bus terminals in six locations and bus waiting stations.

The HPBS is among the priority projects of the city government. The national government, through Department of Transportation (DOTr), will pay the loan for the project.

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