Bus Rapid Transit: Manila BRT A Game Changer - DOTC

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Manila will be a game changer for commuters, according to DOTC secretary Jun Abaya.

Bus Rapid Transit Manila

“BRT systems around the world have been successful in mobilizing masses of people in dense urban settings, getting them to their destinations reliably through fixed schedules, efficiently through segregated lanes and priority passage, comfortably and safely through modern, well-equipped buses, and affordably through relatively lower capital costs and maintenance expenditures,” Abaya explained.

The modern, safe, and efficient features of the BRT, which aims to deliver a fast, convenient, and cost-effective commuting option to residents of Manila, will help curb colorum operations as well as transport strikes.

“BRTs are game-changers. They are as effective as rail systems in terms of moving people around quickly and efficiently, but are much cheaper to build and are faster to develop. Since they will be granted as concessions, their riders will not be at the mercy of ‘colorum’ vehicles or transport strikes. They will be spared from unnecessary disruptions and unsafe traveling conditions,” he noted.

For the curious, here are at last five "generally accepted" components for a BRT system:
  • Modern buses with technical specifications designed precisely for the system, such as bus floors with the same height as station platforms as these would save time for boarding and alighting;
  • A segregated lane or “busway,” which only BRT buses may ply;
  • BRT stations at locations identified to be most suited for riders;
  • Continuously-operating services programmed to meet passenger demands; and
  • Intelligent transport systems or information technologies which ensure the efficient operations of the system, such as automatic signaling which control traffic lights to ensure that the BRT buses are not impeded during trips.
According to the DOTC, the BRT concept began in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974, but the “BRT” name and the system’s popularity did not come until it was introduced in Bogota, Colombia in 2000. Presently, there are over 200 BRT systems either operating or being built worldwide.

Construction of the country's first BRT system in Cebu has been approved by the National Economic Development Authority last May. Once it gets a nod, the Manila BRT will serve the Quezon Circle-Manila City Hall route, the transportation department stated. The World Bank will provide funding and technical expertise for both projects.

Other possible BRT locations in Metro Manila are currently being studied, the DOTC added.