Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System
Proposed BRT running ways down middle of road with median stations.
Proposed BRT running ways down middle of road with median stations.
OwnerDepartment of Transportation (Philippines) (DOTr)
LocaleCebu City, Philippines
Transit typeBus rapid transit
Number of lines1 (1st phase)
Number of stations17 (1st phase)
Daily ridership160,000 (forecast)
Operation will start2Q 2024 (partial)
2Q 2025 (full operations)
System length13.6 km (8.5 mi)
Track gaugeSegregated busway
Average speed25.6 km/h (15.9 mph) (estimated)

The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System is a mass transit system under construction in Cebu City, Philippines. It is expected to become the first operational bus rapid transit project in the Philippines.[1] Only one line has been planned in detail so far, but scheme developers note the potential to develop a larger network comprising the adjacent cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay, all of which, together with Cebu City, form part of the Cebu metropolitan area.[2][3]

The project has faced numerous delays since its supposed implementation in 2016,[4] from disagreements in the route alignments. The COVID-19 pandemic and Typhoon Rai (local name Odette) which hit Cebu also contributed to the delays in the project. However, the project finally broke ground on February 27, 2023.[5] The Cebu BRT is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2025, with partial operations eyed as early as the second quarter of 2024.[6]

History and development

The old proposed path of Cebu BRT Line 1 and its suggested stations. The old route ran from Bulacao in southern Cebu City to Ayala Center Cebu. A feeder route to Talamban in northern Cebu City was also included in the proposal.

A bus rapid transit system for Cebu City was first proposed by former city mayor Tomas Osmeña in the 1990s, drawing inspiration from the Rede Integrada de Transporte in Curitiba, Brazil. However, it was only in 2010 when the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) began formal planning.[7] The World Bank is supporting the scheme financially and technically through its Clean Technology Fund.[1] The Philippine national government initially disapproved the project, but later it supported the project financially as then-Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III placed it as a priority project to purse, through a public-private partnership.[8] The former Mayor of Cebu City, Michael Rama, is also supportive of the plans and has formed two steering committees to advise on policies and provide technical expertise.[9] The Cebu City Team is headed by former Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, as the former Cebu BRT Project Development Officer, Engr. Nigel Paul Villarete, transferred to Mactan–Cebu International Airport on 26 October 2010.[10]

A full feasibility study was commissioned by World Bank Integrated Transport Planning Ltd in September 2012. This study defined the infrastructure, stations, vehicles and operational plan as well as requirements for a citywide Area Traffic Control system and improvements to the urban realm.[11] A large public consultation scheme was undertaken during this study which engaged directly with 5,000 Cebuanos as well as communication via newspapers, TV, radio and social media. After the feasibility study, areas affected by road right of way (RROW) or road widening were marked with varying measurements ranging from less than a meter to 13 meters. Those with BRT stations have larger RROWs. The RROW is also expected to displace many houses and establishments and remove more than 2,000 roadside trees.[citation needed]

The Cebu BRT was formally approved by the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on May 29, 2014.[12] The project was supposed to be funded by a 10.6 billion ($228.5-million) funding package, consisting of a World Bank loan of $116 million (6.4 billion), $25 million from the World Bank Clean Technology Fund, and €50.89 million from the French Development Agency, with the balance to be provided by the Philippine government.[13] In 2017, the budget for the project was revised to 16.3 billion, in accordance to Republic Act 10752, also known as "The Right-of-Way Act", meant to give just compensation to lot owners affected by the project.[12]

The Cebu Interim Bus Service (CIBUS) was launched in 2020 to provide a modern bus transport service to Cebu City, and was also aimed to mimic the Cebu BRT while it was still being formally planned and worked on. CIBUS runs largely the same route as the Cebu BRT, from South Road Properties to Cebu IT Park.[14]

Following numerous delays since its supposed implementation in 2016, the Cebu BRT finally broke ground on February 27, 2023 in a ceremony attended by Philippine president Bongbong Marcos, Cebu City mayor Michael Rama, and Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia.[5]


Cebu City Bus Rapid Transit Phase 1 Package 1
Fuente Circle
† Diagram not to scale

The Cebu BRT route consists of a main line spanning 13.18 km (8.19 mi) of segregated lanes with 17 stations, one depot, and one trunk terminal from South Road Properties southern Cebu City to the Cebu IT Park northern Cebu City.[12] The main line will traverse several important thoroughfares of Cebu City, including Natalio Bacalso Avenue, Osmeña Boulevard, and N. Escario Street. A feeder line system with a total length of 22.1 km (13.7 mi) will support the main line. The feeder lines will run over mixed traffic with priority for the buses, with two feeder terminals in Talisay and Talamban in northern Cebu City.

Upon completion, the Cebu BRT will traverse Cebu City and Talisay with a total of 76 bus stops across the system. There is also provision to extend the Cebu BRT system into the other cities and municipalities of the province of Cebu.[12]

According to the Philippine Department of Transportation, the Cebu BRT can serve 60,000 passengers in a day for the first year of operations. Once the system is fully operational, the Cebu BRT system can cater a total of 160,000 passengers. For the first year of operation, 83 buses will ply the Cebu BRT routes, while a total of 144 buses will serve the system by 2038.

The original route for the Cebu BRT had 11 km (6.8 mi) of segregated busways from Bulacao in southern Cebu City to Ayala Center Cebu, and a further 6 km (3.7 mi) of bus priority at junctions to reach Talamban along Governor M. Cuenco Avenue.[15] A spur line to the South Road Properties (SRP) was also part of the plan.[16]

BRT terminal and stations

The BRT station will be four meters wide and 83 meters long. The BRT first phase from Bulacao to Ayala will consist of 15 symmetric and asymmetric stations.[17]


TransCebu is the proposed name for the BRT line. Single deck non-articulated buses which hold between 85 and 110 passengers will be used. A running speed of 25 km/h is proposed with a peak frequency of 75 buses per hour on the core route.[11] This operation is expected to carry 330,000 passengers each day.[18]

Ticketing and fare collection

Fares will likely be collected through the use of prepaid smart cards. The pre-feasibility assessment for the BRT route states that if the fares were charged at the same level as jeepneys, ticket revenues could reach US$15 million per year, of which US$1.5 million is expected to be the profit or surplus.[18]

Costs and benefits

The pre-feasibility study estimates that in comparison to using jeepneys the BRT route will save passengers 570 million hours of travelling per year and will also be cheaper for the bus operators as BRT vehicles are cheaper to run than the existing jeepneys.[18] The overall cost benefit ratio has been evaluated to be 2.45.[2]

If the buses were to run on diesel then the route is estimated to save 9,655 tonnes of PM10 emissions and 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions up to the year 2035.[2] However the DOTC is also considering running the vehicles on LPG, biofuel, hybrid or electricity which will reduce emissions further.[19]


The full BRT network for Metro Cebu could cover Talisay, Cebu City, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu City, the four largest cities of Metro Cebu. The Cebu BRT is also eyed to pass through the South Road Properties (SRP), and a direct connection to Mactan–Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is also a part of the plan in the near future. There could also be a BRT network at downtown Cebu especially at Colon Street.


The narrow roads of Cebu City has been a point of criticism for the project. Arizona State University professor Donald Webster claimed that a BRT system in Cebu was not viable due to the city's narrow roads, suggesting instead that the project should be reimagined as a light rail or heavy rail system that could be built above or below the roads.[20][21] This sentiment was also shared by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Diño, who stated that he would lobby to President Rodrigo Duterte to have the project scrapped in favor of a light rail transit system.[22]

Legal issues

On March 20,2024, Mayor Michael Rama filed an administrative complaint before the Office of President and sought the suspension of Governor Gwen Garcia regarding the CBRT. “Garcia, by issuing the Assailed Memorandum, violated the Constitution, the Administrative Order 23, Series 1992, the Local Government Code, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act,” Rama alleged. Garcia issued a memorandum to stop the CBRT construction in heritage buffer zones of the Cebu Provincial Capitol and Fuente Osmeña Circle on February 27, 2024.[23][24]

See also


  1. ^ a b Valentina Lopez (July 2010). “Update: The Progression of the Cebu BRT Project and its Impact in the Philippines” Archived 2013-04-15 at PPIAF. Retrieved 2011-01-27
  2. ^ a b c Integrated Transport Planning Ltd (2010). “Study and Concept Plan for a Demonstration Bus Rapid Transit Corridor”. For World Bank and PPIAF.
  3. ^ Philippines News Agency (1 June 2010). "Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu cities want bus transit system” Archived 2013-11-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-01-27
  4. ^ "After 5-year delay DOTr targets partial opening of Cebu bus rapid transit this year". ABS-CBN News. January 25, 2021. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Sabalo, Wenilyn B. (February 27, 2023). "Cebu BRT Project-Phase One breaks ground". CDN Digital. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  6. ^ Sabalo, Wenilyn. "Cebu BRT to be partially operational by Q2 2024 – DoTr". Rappler. Archived from the original on 8 February 2024. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  7. ^ Cris Evert Lato (18 September 2010). "Cebu City awaits bus rapid system” Archived 2010-09-21 at the Wayback Machine. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2011-09-27
  8. ^ Jessica Ann Pareja (26 October 2010). “BRT, MCIAA development among P.Noy’s top projects”. The Freeman. Retrieved 2011-09-27
  9. ^ Positive News Media (30 December 2010). “Mayor Rama forms two committees for proposed BRT system”. Retrieved 2011-01-27
  10. ^ Jessica Ann R. Pareja/JMO (23 October 2010). "Archival to lead BRT team as Villarete heads to MCIA". The Freeman
  11. ^ a b Integrated Transport Planning Ltd (2012). “Cebu BRT Feasibility Study". For World Bank.
  12. ^ a b c d Sabalo, Wenilyn B. (February 27, 2023). "Things to know about the Cebu BRT — the first in the country". CDN Digital. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  13. ^ "WB loan for Cebu BRT set to expire by end-June". BusinessWorld. January 17, 2023. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  14. ^ Erram, Morexette Marie B. (March 16, 2020). "CiBus launched, to accommodate 20 passengers for now". CDN Digital. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  15. ^ Philippines News Agency (8 June 2010). "Cebu City wants national gov’t to spend for BRT implementation” Archived 2015-04-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-01-27
  16. ^ Philippines News Agency (27 August 2010). "Filinvest asks Ceby City government to finalize SRP utilities” Archived 2011-06-23 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-01-27
  17. ^ "City Hall unveils BRT terminal design". 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  18. ^ a b c "City Hall unveils BRT terminal design". 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  19. ^ Philippines News Agency (22 October 2010). "WB okays US$ 1M grant for Cebu City’s rapid bus transit feasibility study” Archived 2011-06-23 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-01-28
  20. ^ Vestil, Justin K. (June 27, 2016). "Canadian professor says BRT will not work in Cebu". Sun.Star. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  21. ^ Cuizon, Razel V. (July 1, 2017). "Cebu City's BRT 'a likely failure'". Sun.Star. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "Cebu City's BRT 'a likely failure'". SunStar Cebu. August 11, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  23. ^ Piquero, Pia (March 22, 2024). "Rama asks Malacañang to suspend Gwen over CBRT dispute". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  24. ^ Cordova, Calvin (March 22, 2024). "Rama files administrative rap vs Garcia before Office of the President". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved March 22, 2024.