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Plans underway for Cebu LRT

A Kinkisharyo light rail train on the Manila elevated line 1 approaching EDSA station. Image credit: T. Schmidt

A consortium of local and international companies is working with the Department of Transportation to develop plans for a mass transit system in Cebu, the former Philippines capital (population 2.8m). Cebu is an earthquake-prone city that is the tourist gateway to central and southern Philippines, and a centre for shipping. Studies are expected to be completed this year with construction following in 2019.

Metro Cebu Light Rail Transit is likely to be a DBOM project and is said to be endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Chinese interests are though to be the most likely participants for the elevated line (with a subway through the central business district). Up to 48 000 passengers/hour will be carried on the trains.

The 16.5km (10.3-mile) first phase will cover the Metro Cebu area, including the airport with a bridge to Mactan Island. Phase 2 will benefit greater Cebu. Passenger service could start in 2022. Cebu had previously looked at Bus Rapid Transit, a favourite of the mayor, but this was put on hold in 2017 and the Duterte-backed rail system currently holds sway.

The current capital, Manila, has had an elevated light rail system since 1984, and is still expanding its network.