Bus rapid transit in Iloilo mulled

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By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The plan of introducing a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Iloilo City and neighboring towns is in motion as the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the city government and Swedish business groups is currently undergoing review.

Business Sweden, a private sector organization promoting Swedish business, and Swedfund, the development equity finance institution of the Swedish state, will provide $1 million through the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to fund a feasibility study for the BRT project in Iloilo City.

Velma Jane Lao, director of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC), disclosed that the “MOA is currently up for review” and the City Planning Development Office has already initiated the planning process for the project.

“As soon as the MOA is finalized, Mayor Treñas will coordinate and ensure the membership of the Technical Working Group (TWG),” she added.

The TWG will be the core group responsible for executing consultations, discussions, and site visits to determine suitable locations for the bus system.

Lao also noted that the DOTr will sign the MOA on behalf of the city government since the study will streamline transportation systems in the MIGEDC area, which includes the Iloilo Airport.

She explained that the feasibility study is to devise strategies on “how the old transport jeepney drivers will be reintegrated into other options for economic activities, the cause of traffic flow, and possible ports of entry for the bus system.”

In March this year, Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Thunborg presented the idea of potential collaboration and the exploration of the feasibility of implementing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to both the city and provincial government.

This was followed by another meeting convened on June 29, which brought together other key stakeholders including MIGEDC, DOTr, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).