DOTr eyes privatization of EDSA busway by 2023

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) eyes to privatize the operation of the EDSA busway by 2023.

“We are hoping that we should be able to implement this next year. The feasibility study should be finished within the year,” DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Tuesday.

Bautista said through this move, operations of the EDSA busway would be more efficient.

“They can increase efficiency of the operation and make it profitable,” he noted. “If all the stakeholders cooperate, there will be efficiency in the operations, so instead of the bus operators competing with each other, it will be one group operating as one.”

In August, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) proposed to privatize the EDSA busway system to upgrade its facilities for the purpose of meeting global standards. 

The DOTr official said they are also in the process of completing the terms of reference for the privatization.

Bautista said once the study is completed, the private sector will be invited for a bidding or they can offer an unsolicited proposal, which will be evaluated by the government to be followed by a Swiss challenge.

For now, the department is working on adding more pick-up and drop-off points for the busway. Three were recently added, located along Taft Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, and at One Ayala at the corner of Ayala Avenue and EDSA, the official said.

“We are looking at three more stops. SM Mall of Asia and the SM group are helping us and they are willing to support the funding of some of these stops,” he added.

Bautista also called on Congress to allocate funding for the EDSA busway project for 2023 as it has been seen as beneficial to commuters.

Meanwhile, Bautista said the privatization of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) operations is still being considered. 

“MRT-3 is now in a build, lease, and transfer arrangement. In 2025, the build, lease arrangement will end and this infrastructure will be totally owned by the government. So, the government can offer this to the private sector for operations and maintenance,” he explained.

Aside from the MRT-3, Bautista said the government is also open to privatizing the operations of the Light Rail Transit Line 2.