MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) suspended the dry run of the provincial bus ban on Monday, May 6, pending guidelines to be crafted with other agencies.
“We will continue with the dry run once the guidelines and implementing rules have been ironed out by the 3 agencies involved,” said MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia in a statement on Monday.
But Garcia said that the strict enforcement of the “no loading and unloading” policy for provincial buses along EDSA will remain.
The MMDA will be meeting with the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
EDSA traffic manager Bong Nebrija told reporters on Monday that the guidelines may be out after election day, May 13, as many Filipinos would have to travel to and from provinces to cast their votes.
In a bid to ease traffic congestion in the metropolis, the Metro Manila Council issued MMDA Regulation No. 19-002 last March, which effectively revoked the business permits of provincial bus terminals. The closure is set to be implemented by June.
After Holy Week, on April 22, the MMDA implemented a dry run that prohibited provincial bus drivers from loading and unloading passengers outside their terminals. Instead, they were told to use terminals in Valenzuela City, the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange in Parañaque City, as well as those in Sta Rosa, Laguna.
This is not the first time Metro Manila mayors wanted to ban provincial buses along main thoroughfares. In 2018, they approved the ban on provincial buses along EDSA during rush hour, in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the capital region amid simultaneous road projects that year. This policy has since been suspended.
In 2015, the MMDA also banned provincial buses from using EDSA underpasses for the same purpose. – Rappler.com