With new LTFRB policy, provincial bus ban to 'hopefully' start August
MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued a memorandum circular (MC) amending the routes of provincial buses to end at cities of Valenzuela, Parañaque, and Sta Rosa in Laguna.
With this MC, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia said the controversial provincial bus ban implementation will be among those to be discussed with the Metro Manila Council.
"Pag-uusapan din sa Thursday (July 25). Hopefully [by August]," Garcia told Rappler in a text message asking about the target date of implementation.
The MMC, composed of Metro Manila mayors, will convene on Thursday to talk about the ban, as well as the proposed clearing of roads as mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address.
The ban seeks to close down all 47 provincial bus terminals along EDSA in a bid to ease traffic congestion along the main thoroughfare.
Currently, the MMDA has started prohibiting buses to and from the provinces to load or unload passengers along the 23.8-kilometer highway.
The LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2019-031, signed on July 9 but uploaded to its website on July 18, is among the "requirements" the MMDA is waiting for from traffic agencies to finally implement the ban.
JUST IN: Provincial bus ban to “hopefully” start by August, with new LTFRB MC 2019-031 amending the routes of provincial buses to end in the cities of Valenzuela, Parañaque, and Sta Rosa Laguna. | via @reyaika pic.twitter.com/qzane3rCJz— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) July 23, 2019
In the dispositive portion of the MC, LTFRB said that: "all routes of provincial buses coming from the North with terminals along EDSA are termporarily amended to end at Valenzuela Interim Terminal."
"[T]hose coming from South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao with terminals along EDSA in Cubao, Quezon City will end at Sta Rosa Interim Terminal, while those coming from South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao with terminals along EDSA in Pasay City will end at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, saved for other integrated terminals that may be established and accredited consistent to the standards set forth in the existing policy of the board," the LTFRB added.
The regulatory board also amended the routes of all city buses "extending their end point in the North to Valenzuela Interim Terminal, and Sta Rosa Interim Terminal and [PITX] in the South."
LTFRB said that all fares affected by the policy "shall correspond to the actual distance per kilometer" as authorized by the board.
It added that affected provincial buses shall have a "window time," which will be defined by the MMDA.
"Provincial bus terminals not along EDSA shall enjoy the status quo in the meantime, provided that the buses utilizing or accessing such terminals shall pass through EDSA during the window time only, although they are allowed to cross EDSA any time of the day," LTFRB added.
The regulatory board further clarified that all provisions in the MC "shall only take effect upon closure" of the bus terminals along EDSA, as implemented by their respective local government units and the accreditation of the identified interim terminals.
The closure is among those that will be discussed by Metro Manila mayors on Thursday, July 25, some of them newly part of the council being new mayors.
In May, Bicol lawmakers filed petitions before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the policy, arguing it was "utterly oppressive and unfair."
Pending the decision of the High Court, MMDA earlier said they will still push through with the plan.
But experts said that the ban runs contrary to its goal of reducing traffic congestion in EDSA, as it may result in longer travel time, heavier traffic, as well as extra fares. – Rappler.com