With the elevated Skyway Stage 3 operational, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is looking to run the country’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system on the elevated expressway, to drastically improve commuting for Filipinos, and support sustainable transportation.
The BRT system, already used in many countries, will utilize the Skyway for buses that will function like trains—ferrying large numbers of passengers at a time and stopping only at designated stations at set intervals. The system may also resemble a high-capacity point-to-point (P2P) bus system.
“As early as 2017, we had already been considering the bus rapid transit system on the Skyway as a means to further decongest traffic in Metro Manila and transform the commuting experience of many Filipinos. In fact, we already announced plans for this back then,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
With Skyway 3 now in place, SMC is looking to make the elevated BRT system a reality, with the goal of implementing the system from Susanna Heights in Muntinlupa to Balintawak, towards the North Luzon Expressway.
Ang said that Skyway 3 and all its expressway projects are designed primarily to divert and take away a significant number of vehicles from major roads such as EDSA and C-5, and even the at-grade section of the Skyway, which has been designated for use by buses. But the BRT of high-capacity P2P system was always part of the vision for Skyway 3.
“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.
Ang said the company is currently doing studies and formulating a plan, which it will present to the Department of Transportation once ready.
“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.
Ang added that as the buses will run on a controlled expressway, they cannot deviate from their course or stop anywhere. Reliability and predictability of transportation will be higher for commuters.
“While we are looking to implement this on the Skyway system from Susanna Heights to Balintawak, in the future, we can also implement this for our other new projects, in order to expand the area of coverage. Our expressways are really designed not just for motorists, but also to serve as a platform for efficient and sustainable mass transportation,” he emphasized.
Ang said that many motorists would even choose an efficient public transport system over driving their own vehicles, provided it was fast, easy to use, safe, affordable, and most of all, comfortable. This could yield significant benefits even for the environment, as hours-long traffic jams will become a thing of the past, he added. “We believe our elevated expressways are critical to solving Metro Manila congestion, which we can only expect to worsen in the coming years as our population and our economy grows. We can’t afford not take action now, and we can’t make do with temporary or inadequate fixes anymore.”