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MMDA suspends dry run of provincial bus ban

provincial buses on Edsa bus

Buses from provinces in Northern and Southern Luzon will soon be banned from plying Edsa as their terminals along Metro Manila’s busiest road will be closed to ease traffic congestion. (Photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Updated @ 12:18 a.m., May 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) suspended on Monday the dry run of the provincial bus ban along Edsa.

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MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia explained that the provincial bus ban was temporarily suspended, pending a meeting with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“We will continue with the dry run once the guidelines and implementing rules have been ironed out by the three agencies involved,” Garcia said in a statement.

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“While waiting kung ano ang mangyayari sa meeting, ‘yung mga guidelines pa niyan, sinuspend muna natin yung dry run, yung pagdaan nila [sa terminals sa Sta. Rosa, Laguna at Valenzuela],” he said in an interview over dzMM.

Garcia pointed out that they have yet to finalize which city buses will have to be re-routed at the terminals to ferry passengers to the metropolis.

“Hindi pa napa-plantsa nang todo kung anong mga city buses ang ire-reroute natin so ayaw naman natin na makisama yung mga operator ng provincial bus na dumaan dyan kung wala namang sasalo sa mga mananakay,” the MMDA general manager said.

No politics, please

Garcia added that the MMDA does not want the bus ban to be politicized when politics is dominant due to the upcoming May 13 elections.

“Ayaw naman natin na ‘yung isang polisiya ay ma-politicize, so ang sa amin, hinihintay na lang namin yung pagpupulong,” he said.

Meanwhile, MMDA Edsa traffic head Bong Nebrija said the bus ban could likely resume after elections since many passengers would go home to their provinces to vote.

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“The guidelines … this will come maybe after the election na. Marami sa mga kababayan natin uuwi sa provinces to vote,” Nebrija told reporters in a text message when asked until when the bus ban would be suspended.

He said the meeting with the LTFRB and DOTr would be held within the week.

Nevertheless, he said the strict enforcement of the “no loading and unloading” along Edsa would remain in effect.

Under the ban, all provincial buses would no longer be allowed on the busy thoroughfare. They should end their trips at the integrated transport terminals in Valenzuela City for those coming from the north, and in Parañaque City or Santa Rosa, Laguna province, for those from the south.

The routes for city buses, on the other hand, would be extended to the integrated transport terminals, allowing them to pick up and ferry Metro-bound passengers.

The new policy aimed at decongesting traffic on the busy thoroughfare is in line with the enforcement of MMDA Resolution No. 19-002, which seeks to remove the 47 provincial bus terminals along Edsa.

It was approved in March by the Metro Manila Council, the MMDA’s policy-making body composed of the 17 Metro mayors. Supposed to take effect on April 9, the ban was deferred by the MMDA for the anticipated increase in the number of passengers during the Holy Week break. The new schedule for its implementation is next month.

Previous attempt

This is not the first attempt by the government to clear Edsa of bus terminals.

In 2003, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 179 establishing a “Greater Manila Mass Transport System,” which ordered the removal of bus terminals on major thoroughfares to decongest traffic.

The Supreme Court, however, struck it down as unconstitutional, saying there were “less intrusive measures” more effective in easing the traffic situation.”

According to the MMDA, there are 12,000 passenger buses in the National Capital Region, 8,000 of which are provincial buses. The rest are city buses.

/cbb /atm

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