Davao’s bus system still waiting for funds

May. 07, 2024
Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (Image from ADB)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As the April 30 deadline for jeepneys to consolidate for the modernized bus system has passed, is Davao City ready to roll out the buses to serve around 800,000 commuters in the city?

The city’s bus project official said what is lacking is the funds coming from the national government.

This was revealed by Tristan Dwight Domingo, project manager of the Davao Bus Public Transport Modernization Project, during a workshop two weeks ago organized by the city government and with consulting firms Transport and Traffic Planners and CEST Incorporated.

The Davao City’s modern public transport project is worth P73 billion, which is mainly sourced from a $1-billion (P55-billion) loan from Asia Development Bank (ADB) last June.  The amount has not yet been released. 

“As much as the city would like to have this implemented last year, we’re still very dependent on the national government” Tristan was quoted saying this during the consultation workshop.

The loan will be used for the acquisition of 1,100 electric buses. The Department of Transportation meanwhile, has awarded four contracts to two Chinese firms for the construction of depots, terminals, and a driving academy. These firms are China International Water and Electronic Corporation, and a joint venture between China Wu Yi Co Ltd. – Fujian Construction and Engineering Co. Ltd. And Vicente Lao Construction.

The city’s modern bus system will feature air-conditioned buses with Wi-Fi connectivity and will ply 29 routes.

The ADB and the Marcos Jr. administration are saying the modernized bus systems lessens pollution with its low-carbon and climate-resilient engines.

The bus system, however, will affect 6,000 jeepney drivers in the city. The Davao City government said it will provide a P1.5-billion fund for non-financial assistance for drivers and operators who will be displaced by the project.

Transport groups such as the local Transmision-Piston, and national groups Piston and Manibela, have launched a series of transport strikes since last year. 

The groups oppose the administration’s plan for them to consolidate into cooperatives to obtain franchises, as they point out that the prices of acquiring buses are beyond their pockets and is paving way for corporations to take over the public transport system.

Commuters in the city have mixed reactions on the project, as they are concerned that passenger fares may be higher than that of jeepney fares. (davaotoday.com)

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