SM enters transportation scene with JAM Liner


jam-liner-2It’s had some unsuccessful attempts breaking into the transportation business via the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership program, but Henry Sy’s SM Group scored a victory recently, announcing a tie-up with a big Luzon bus operator to serve Cebu City and nearby areas.

Biz Buzz learned that Hans Sy-led SM Prime Holdings has sealed a partnership with the popular JAM Liner bus company, which currently serves Metro Manila and Southern Luzon. JAM Liner is led by its president, Dennise Trajano.

The two groups are forming a joint-venture company, known as Metro Rapid Transit Service Inc., which will provide a “high-quality public transport system” for Cebuanos starting 2015.

The company will serve key routes from Talisay and Lapu Lapu City, where the Mactan Cebu International Airport is located, as well as certain stops where SM has malls. This includes the South Road Properties, where SM Prime is building the massive SM Seaside City, which is scheduled to open later this year.

Some key SM officials are also  coming on board Metro Rapid Transit’s management—which is another way of saying more work for them.
Joining the venture is SM Prime’s chief financial officer Jeffrey Lim as well as the well-connected Marissa Fernan, who wears multiple hats within the organization apart from serving as SM Prime vice president for Visayas and Mindanao.

As some readers might have noticed, the partnership also serves as JAM Liner’s first expansion move to Cebu.

We heard there were attempts by SM to partner with Cebu-based bus operators but, unfortunately, none approached the scale that SM needed.

Since scale is the requirement, it was a good idea then to come seek a partner from Metro Manila. Any ordinary drive along our main highway Edsa and you’ll know what we’re talking about.–Miguel R. Camus

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