Clark public transport system could be bid out by end-2024 or early 2025

THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is hoping to bring the Clark Integrated Public Transport System project to auction by the end of the year, pending the release of a feasibility study by the World Bank.

“We already had an agreement with the World Bank, and we just sent the contract to our external lawyer to study. But the agreement is for them to submit the report after six months, or in October,” BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Joshua M. Bingcang told reporters.

“We can launch (the bidding) by the last quarter of 2024 or the first quarter of next year. The project cost, including the real estate, is around P3 billion to P5 billion,” said Mr. Bingcang.

The planned public-private partnership (PPP) needs to settle the division of labor on the project, including issues like who will build the infrastructure if necessary to mitigate risk for the private partner.

“Since it will be a PPP project, we will share in the risk. If the risk is too much for the private sector to bear, we can shoulder some of the costs, especially on the building of the stations, and then the private sector will just operate it,” he said.

Spanning approximately 60 kilometers, the bus rapid transit system will facilitate seamless travel from the airport to the city’s main gates and onward to the Clark Freeport Zone and to New Clark City. It will make use of electric vehicles and conventionally powered units compliant with the Euro 5 emissions standard.

“The target is to invite an operator that will provide services not just for New Clark City but also for the Clark Airport and the Clark Freeport Zone, and we will couple it with transport-oriented development,” Mr. Bingcang said.

He said such a business model will make the project more attractive to the private sector, as transport hub operators sometimes do not earn money from passenger fees.

“If you look at Tokyo, their stations are like malls. So, our model is transport-oriented development, and we will partner with real estate (companies) to make it viable,” he said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile