Francisco Ouano, head of the Cebu City Transportation Office, told The Freeman it is important to hold the dry run so that the city and the bus group can assess the situation and decide if it is wise for the buses to return to the main highway.
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Buses to use Mambaling underpass for traffic dry run
Le Phyllis F. Antojado (The Freeman) - June 26, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — For six hours on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., buses will be allowed to use the newly opened underpass in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City to test if their presence will affect the traffic situation in the area.

Since the underpass at the intersection of N. Bacalso Avenue and F. Llamas Street opened on June 15, buses have not been allowed to use it. They were rerouted to the South Road Properties 22 months ago when construction of the underpass began but have not been allowed to return to the main highway until today.

This did not sit well with the bus operators.

“Unfair man na namo. Ngano man? Gi- detour mi kay magbuhat og tunnel or underpass unya ang gobyerno nigasto og P700 million pagsulbad sa traffic situation sa F. Llamas ug N. Bacalso… karon, paghuman, didto lang gihapon mi so unfair… dapat naay consultation (That’s unfair to us. We were made to go on detour because they had to build the underpass to solve the traffic situation there. Now that construction is finished, we have to pass through the SRP, still, so it’s unfair… there should have been consultation),” said Julito Flores, head of the Cebu Provincial Bus and Mini Bus Operators Transport Cooperative (CPBMTC).

Francisco Ouano, head of the Cebu City Transportation Office, told The Freeman it is important to hold the dry run so that the city and the bus group can assess the situation and decide if it is wise for the buses to return to the main highway.

Flores echoed Ouano’s statement, saying the dry run will help them come up with measures to help ease traffic in the area. For example, buses can use the underpass only at certain times of the day.

“Kanang Monday, pwede ra mi from the south, ari mi sa SRP agi… kanang naay option ang driver ba… kung naay daghan manaog from Tabunok going to Pardo so moagi mi pero kung walay monaog, ari mi sa SRP, kanang peak hours, Monday ug Friday (The bus drivers should have options. For example, on peak days like Mondays and Friday, we pass through the main highway if there are many passengers who need to get off the buses in the Tabunok or Pardo areas… If no passenger is getting off these areas, we can pass through the SRP),” Flores said.

He said they also chose to hold the dry run on a Friday because it is the day of the week that traffic is often heaviest.

Costing the government P638 million, the underpass was built during the administration of outgoing Mayor Tomas Osmeña in an attempt to address the worsening traffic situation in the city’s south.

Ouano said earlier the city will not allow the 600 provincial buses and mini buses to use the tunnel for now to loosen the traffic up in the area but KMK and My Bus vehicles have been allowed to use it because they have franchises from Talisay City to Cebu City and they have bus stops in Barangays Mambaling and Inayawan.

The provincial buses and mini buses can pass through the South Road Properties.

“Ang kaning KMK ug My Bus naay franchise man. Makakuha sila’g mga pasahero diri while katong provincial buses man gud kay point to point sila (The KMK and My Bus have franchises and they can pick passengers up in Cebu City. The provincial buses don’t and they travel from point to point),” Ouano said.

Public utility jeepneys, meanwhile, can use only the side roads but they will be allowed to use the underpass only if they fully occupied so they won’t have to stop at the tunnel.

CCTO is also implementing a “no jaywalking” policy strictly and the truck ban from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the speed limit from 20 kph to 40 kph.

Even with the underpass now open, Ouano said the alternative roads along Macopa Street and Bontures Street are still open to vehicles.  (FREEMAN)

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