Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano stressed the importance of strong cooperation between private and public sectors to attain their goal of providing the highest level of service to the people.
In her speech during the virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the EDSA busway concourse project, Rubiano thanked Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as well as several private individuals, especially Eduardo Yap whom she described as “foremost busway advocate.”
“This busway concourse is part of our plan, our dream, to make Metro Manila a more livable city, especially for the commuting public and pedestrians,’ Rubiano said.
“The construction of the first three concourses is one clear and positive step in providing accessible, convenient and state-of-the art walkways for commuters and pedestrians at our EDSA Busway stations,” she added.
The mayor said the project is also a good showcase of public-private partnership. Through initiatives, suggestions and ideas from the private sector, the project can be realized through government funding.
The mayor said the Department of Transportation (DOT) inked agreements with three private partners for the construction of EDSA Busway Bridges, each with a concourse.
Rubiano said the agreements were made with SM Prime Holdings, DM Wenceslao and Associates Inc., and Double Dragon Properties Corp. for them to put up bridges in select locations.
She said that under the agreement, the private partners will shoulder the construction of the busway bridges with concourse at the SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, President D. Macapagal Boulevard in Aseana City, and at EDSA near the corner of President D. Macapagal Avenue.
“As part of our commitment, we will ensure that the overhead bridges and passenger concourse are properly well-secured and well-maintained for the safety and convenience of all passengers and pedestrians. All these, we will undertake at no additional cost to the government,” SM Prime Holdings Inc. President Jeffrey Lim was quoted as saying.
DM Wenceslao president and chief executive officer Delfin Angelo Wenceslao and Double Dragon assistant to the president Atty. Jay Rashid Ugalingan, also shared the same objective.
The mayor said the busway bridges will have a concierge, ticketing booths, turnstiles for the automatic fare collection system (AFCS), as well as ramps and elevators to provide accessibility.
Rubiano also said the government started operating the EDSA busway system last year to complement the operations of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and its bus augmentation program amid public transportation restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Napakaganda ho ng proyekto. (The project is very nice). With the state-of-the-art facility of the EDSA Busway Bridge and Concourse, we will be catering world-class service to the public” Tugade was quoted as saying.
The mayor, for her part, said the ongoing pandemic has made the busway with concourse a necessity.
“Along EDSA, we have modified our bus stops in order to prioritize our commuters while making them safe and protected at the same time. The modern bus concourse is an added solution to this adjustment,” Rubiano pointed out.
The mayor expressed hope that the busway concourse will be finished at the soonest possible time.