San Miguel eyes bus rapid transit in Skyway Stage 3

San Miguel eyes bus rapid transit in Skyway Stage 3

MANILA, Philippines — Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is studying to put up a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in its newly opened elevated expressway to ease commuter woes and decongest traffic.

At early stages, the project remains on paper and is unlikely to break ground anytime soon. That said, if realized, the planned bus system will be the first of its kind in the country and will run along an elevated pathway provided by Skyway Stage 3, San Miguel said in a statement on Monday.

It was something that San Miguel had been planning to do since 2017, Ramon Ang, chief executive and president, said. What is envisioned is a BRT that will utilize the Skyway 3 network and function like trains ferrying large numbers of passengers at a time and stopping only at designated stations.  

The system also resembles a high-capacity point-to-point (P2P) bus system, San Miguel explained. The company is "currently doing studies and formulating a plan" that will be presented to the Department of Transportation once ready for approval. 

"We’re very excited to start discussions on this. The most important thing is that the platform is already here— the completed elevated Skyway system —and this BRT or high-capacity P2P system will make commutes faster and better for many Filipinos,” Ang said. 

The conglomerate said the planned bus system would run from Susanna Heights in Muntinlupa, south of the capital that has access to the South Luzon Expressway, to Balintawak in Quezon City, one of the gateways to the North Luzon Expressway. This, the company said, will help divert traffic from EDSA and C5 Road, two of Metro Manila's busiest thoroughfares.

BRT, which is already common fixture of public transport in other countries, has been repeatedly floated as a permanent fix to the country's traffic jams that cost the economy billions of pesos daily. Unfortunately, state-led BRT plans had been delayed or thwarted by opposition, including one in Cebu City. The Duterte administration has also been eyeing a BRT system in EDSA.

“Lessening the vehicles competing for road space is how elevated expressways ease traffic—as we have seen now on Edsa. This also means improving the daily commutes of Filipinos taking public transportation that use these roads,” Ang explained. 

"However, our need for efficient transport systems will always be there, so more solutions are required. The Skyway BRT system is one viable solution that is also highly scalable," he added.