Some weeks ago I wrote about the Bus Rapid Transit system which has been successfully implemented in Bogota Colombia. I got some interesting responses and did a little research. It appears that Metro Manila could’ve been the first metropolis to have a BRT. Here’s a letter from William Juan of Versatech, a member of the Philtrak consortium.
‘Sad to say but the Philtrak People Mover System or the Philtrak Mass transport system proposed by our consortium – Philtrak PMS Inc., for EDSA in 1990 and later on for the unfinished C5 corridor in 1997 would have beaten the Bogota, the Jakarta, other BRT systems now in place and even the original Curitiba busway in Brazil.
‘Although the consortium was given an “ORDER” by the LTFRB in 1997 during the time of Chairman Dante Lantin and under DOTC Secretary Josefina Lichauco which was towards the end of the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, the Asian financial crisis caught up with its implementation. The Estrada administration didn’t really put it on top priority. Similarly, it was again presented to the Secretary of Finance during the early years of the Arroyo administration but since it was not a big ticket project, it was not considered as flagship project.
‘The problem with our bureacracy is that, if you are offering a project which do not really give the approving authority a big rebate, chances are your project wont really take off. Or there would be no great effort on those approving authority to assist in the funding of the project.
‘The proposed C5 Philtrak PMS or BRT is segregated and starts in Western Bicutan up to Lagro in Novaliches, passing through the Ft.Bonifacio and the Global City in Taguig City, Pembo, East Rembo and West Rembo in Makati City, Bagong Ilog, Valle Verde and Ugong in Pasig City, Libis, Eastwood, Acropolis, St.Ignatius, Blue Ridge, Project 4, Quirino District, Loyola Heights, Katipunan Ave, U.P.-Balara, Tandang Sora, Commonwealth Ave, Manggahan, Batasan, Fairview and Lagro in northern Quezon City. Loading stations or stops are to be provided in each thickly populated intersections or highly commercial areas. For greater efficiency, 5 shuttle loops or feeder system, i.e. the Bicutan-Airport loop, the Global City – Ayala CBD loop, the Ortigas CBD loop, the Araneta Center CBD loop, and the UP-SM City loop, were an integral part of the Philtrak PMS system.
‘The busway would make use of the 2 innermost lanes closest to the median. It was proposed that grade separations or flyovers should be constructed in all major intersections so that there would be no interference in its unhampered operation, just like in the LRT system. Hence if it is implemented today, the U-turn slots by the MMDA must be removed.
‘Passengers are provided with the normal concourse as access, either aboveground or below ground, to reach the elevated loading platforms situated in the median lane. The control turnstiles are provided on the concourse level which is wide enough to accomodate the high volume of passengers. Magnetic cards with stored value or single journey value would be in used.
‘The buses would be the high capacity articulated type, with perimeter seats, CNG engine driven by Volvo or driven by the super low emmission type Volvo diesel engine, with the buses running as singles, in tandems or in convoys of three or even four, depending on the volume of passengers during peak hours, with 3 minutes scheduled arrival time and the regular 60 seconds dwell time, and I bet you can only achieve this operation if your drivers are not paid like in the “boundary system”.‘
Oh great, another might’ve been.