Provincial bus ban begins next week

MANILA — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will start the enforcement of the provincial bus ban along a portion of Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (Edsa) on August 15.

“We are pushing through with the provincial bus ban starting Aug. 15, only during rush hours,” MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia announced during the inspection of the Valenzuela Interim Terminal on Thursday.

Under the policy, buses coming from the north shall end their route in Cubao, Quezon City while those coming from the south shall end their route in Pasay City. Those without terminals in Pasay City can use the agency-operated Southwest Interim Provincial Terminal (SWIPT).

The policy takes effect from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., Monday to Friday. Violators will be fined PHP2,000.

Garcia said the five-hectare terminal in Valenzuela has yet to comply with the LTRFB standards, such as installation of waiting sheds, comfort rooms, and walkways, among others, before provincial buses can fully utilize it.

Once operational, provincial buses coming from the north can drop off their passengers inside the terminal located on Paso de Blas Road.  Metro Manila-bound passengers can transfer to city operating buses that will take them to their destinations in Metro Manila.

Garcia led the terminal inspection with Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Richmund de Leon, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chief Transportation Development Officer Joel Bolano, and other MMDA officials.

Garcia said they envision the facility as an intermodal transport terminal that can provide interconnectivity for different modes of transportation, such as provincial buses, city operating buses, Asian utility vehicles (UV Express), jeepneys and even tricycles.

The operation of the terminal is at no cost to the government.

For his part, Gatchalian said the private owner of the terminal vowed to hasten the construction of facilities for the safety and convenience of the passengers.

He expressed optimism that the terminal would help address traffic problems in the metropolis.

“If this terminal could help reduce the volume of vehicles on EDSA, then we can accommodate the buses,” said Gatchalian.

Garcia said this development is part of the agency’s long-term plan to move out provincial bus terminals along Edsa to decongest traffic in the metropolis.

Three bus terminals are set to be operational in various parts of Metro Manila — the bus terminal in Valenzuela; the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, which is set to open in September; and the bus terminal in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, which is expected to open in December this year.  (MMDA PR)

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