No number coding on buses 2 days before Christmas, New Year – MMDA
MANILA — To ensure that there will be enough buses to ferry passengers to the provinces this holiday season, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will lift the number coding scheme for provincial buses at least two days before Christmas and New Year.
MMDA officer in charge and general manager Tim Orbos said on Tuesday that through this initiative, bus companies would be able to accommodate more travellers to the provinces early for the holidays. Last year, authorities estimated that at least 10,000 passengers trooped to the Araneta Center bus terminal just before Christmas Day.
Starting 1 p.m. of Dec. 22, the unified vehicular volume reduction program, or number coding scheme, will be lifted for the around 3,300 provincial buses. It will remain suspended on Dec. 23, Friday. The number coding scheme is automatically lifted during holidays.
And in anticipation of the influx of vacationers returning to Metro Manila, the number coding scheme will again be suspended on Dec. 29, Thursday, and Jan. 2, 2017, Monday. The traffic reduction scheme, however, will remain in effect for other modes of transport, such as private cars.
On the other hand, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board is releasing until Wednesday next week special permits for bus operators who would like to have special trips.
Given the spike of vehicles passing through the capital’s major thoroughfares this holiday season, the MMDA will also strictly enforce its “nose in, nose out” policy for provincial bus terminals along Edsa to help ease traffic congestion. The agency’s latest data showed that more than 166,000 vehicles plied the major thoroughfare on Nov. 9. Compared to Dec. 21, 2015, the figure is higher by 5,100 cars.
Starting Friday, the MMDA, with the help of the Interagency Council on Traffic and local traffic enforcers, will apprehend bus drivers who will not comply with the policy, which prohibits buses from maneuvering along Edsa that often cause road congestion. Violators will be slapped with charges of obstruction and disregarding traffic signs. Each violation carries a P500 fine.
Orbos also called on bus operators to employ more porters in their terminals during the holidays to help passengers load or unload their baggage so as not to obstruct traffic flow, particularly along Edsa.
Currently, 45 of the 85 provincial buses in Metro Manila are located along Edsa. Most of these terminals are found within Quezon City and Pasay City. SFM
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