In a bid to ease the commuting woes of Filipinos while also easing the traffic congestion in major cities across the country, the government has earmarked an estimated Php 10.2 billion from the proposed Php 3.767 trillion 2018national budget for the construction of the bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

The budget will be split between three BRT projects, two in Metro Manila and one in Cebu.

BRT Line 1 will run the España Boulevard-Quezon Avenue route beginning from Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) to Manila City Hall via Elliptical Road, Quezon Avenue, and Espana Boulevard, and is expected to handle 291,500 passengers daily. It will connect with interchanges of the MRT-3, PNR, LRT1, and the MRT-7 and is estimated to cost Php 1.76 billion.

EDSA BRT or Line 2 stretches 48.6 kilometers and includes four routes: EDSA, Ayala Avenue to World Trade Center, Ortigas to Bonifacio Global City, and NAIA terminals. It will serve approximately 1.6 million passengers, will also come with a pedestrian and bicycle greenway network and is estimated to cost Php 3.09 billion.

The Cebu BRT is expected to service 330,000 passengers and will cost Php 5.37 billion.

BRT systems will run at five-minute intervals, offer high-speed Internet and will come equipped with digital security cameras, and a public-address system.

“Our cities deserve a breath of fresh air, so we definitely do not want the usual 100-percent diesel buses running through our BRT lines. Hybrid buses with battery-powered electric motors and smaller diesel engines, or possibly even buses running on cleaner fuel such as compressed natural gas, should be deployed preferably,” said Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr.