MANILA, Philippines — With the new provincial terminal in Parañaque City set to open on July 15, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is expecting traffic to ease on main thoroughfares like Edsa and Roxas Boulevard, which used to be “parking lots” for the provincial buses.
“On the opening of the new terminal, 972 buses who use Roxas Boulevard in front of Baclaran Church as parking lot will be the first to be gone,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said during the agency’s weekly radio program.
Tolentino was referring to the Cavite- and Batangas-bound buses, which starting July can only be found at a 1.4-hectare lot on the lower ground of the Uniwide Coastal mall along Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque and an adjacent vacant lot the MMDA will convert into an intermodal terminal station.
The construction of the terminal at the Coastal mall was the first leg of of the three proposed centralized bus terminal stations on the outskirts of Metro Manila, and thus test the waters for the government bid to ease the capital’s traffic woes.
The other two terminals in Alabang, Muntinlupa for buses plying the southeast routes and terminal near Trinoma Mall in Quezon City for the Metro Manila’s northern corridor, are projected to be operational by the end of the year, according to Tolentino.
The Department of Transportation and Communication and the Department Public Works and Highways were likewise tasked by President Aquino to plan and construct the two provincial terminals.
The primary intention of the agencies was to get rid of the 7, 000 provincial buses plying EDSA and other major thoroughfares every day, which is more than half of the total number of Metro Manila’s passenger buses.
But before the MMDA can prohibit the 972 buses bound for Cavite and Batangas on Edsa and Roxas Boulevard, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) must modify the franchises given to these buses.
“We are appealing to the LTFRB to speed up the procedures the bus operators and drivers have to undergo so the bus terminal will start to operate without delay,” Tolentino said.
Earlier, the transport group 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-Utak) has cautioned the MMDA on the “great inconvenience” to the passengers that the centralized bus terminal project would cause.
If the bus terminals were relocated, passengers would have to pay additional transport costs to reach the terminal and their destinations, apart from problems in baggage handling.
MMDA officials, however, said relocating provincial terminals would eventually give “traffic relief” to all the commuters and motorists.