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MMDA wants to reduce provincial bus routes

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is eyeing the reduction of routes of provincial buses going to Metro Manila once it fully implements the closure of bus terminals on Edsa.

“No revocation of the franchise. What will happen is there will be cutting of the franchise routes – if before the franchise routes are province to Cubao and province to Pasay, now it will be just province to Santa Rosa and province to Valenzuela,” MMDA Edsa traffic chief Edison “Bong” Nebrija said on Friday.

Nebrija said franchise routes of provincial buses would be reduced as a result of the closure of bus terminals on Edsa.

“We need to cut if we will be closing down the terminals. We do not want that up to the last minute. We will be doing this once we have already shut them down,” he said.

At present the MMDA is doing a dry run of the provincial bus ban, wherein bus operators are being encouraged to use the interim terminals located in Valenzuela City and the City of Santa Rosa in Laguna. The MMDA is aiming to remove all 47 bus terminals on Edsa by June.

The Department of Transportation is building the integrated bus terminals in Bulacan and Taguig City for public utility buses coming from the northern and southern provinces, respectively.

MMDA general manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia Jr. said point-to-point (P2P) buses would be deployed to replace provincial buses.

The P2P buses are intended to transport passengers carrying heavy luggage from provinces to Metro Manila.

“We shall have the same number of provincial buses. Some provincial buses will only be converted to P2P since they have baggage compartments,” Garcia explained.

He said the MMDA was also planning to extend the routes of city buses to the interim terminals in order to ensure ease of travel for commuters.

“We want to ensure the availability of city buses that will pick up passengers from the interim terminals before we conduct the dry run on the use of the terminals,” Garcia said.

The MMDA will meet with officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board next week to finalize details for the full implementation of the policy, particularly the number of P2P and city buses that will be deployed and their fares and routes, reduction of provincial bus franchise routes, and the extension of city bus routes.

The LTFRB has the authority to approve or revise the routes of the buses while the MMDA will handle the enforcement.

Garcia said he expected the implementation of the closure of bus terminals would decongest Edsa, particularly the yellow lane for city buses.

The MMC, MMDA's policy-making body consisting of 17 Metro Manila mayors, has recently approved MMDA Regulation No. 19-002, prohibiting the issuance of business permits to public utility vehicle terminals and operations on Edsa.

Once the business permits are revoked, the actual closure of the terminals can be implemented by the concerned local government units which have jurisdiction over the terminals.

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