MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has moved the implementation of the ban on provincial buses plying EDSA to August 1, from the original date of July 15.
In a press statement on Thursday, July 5, the MMDA said that the initial ban schedule has been changed to 7 am to 10 am, and 6 pm to 9 pm on weekdays.
The ban covers northbound and southbound provincial buses from plying Cubao in Quezon City to Pasay City. A dry run will be conducted on Tuesday, July 24.
"The changes were agreed during an emergency meeting with provincial bus operators and other stakeholders recently," MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said in a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
MMDA earlier announced that the ban would take effect on July 15, from 5 am to 10 am, and from 4 pm to 9 pm.
During the briefing, Garcia also said that with the ban in place, the MMDA will exempt provincial buses traversing EDSA from the number coding scheme. Provincial buses plying other roads, however, will still be subject to the scheme.
The MMDA said the buses will not be allowed to use alternative routes and that it will require provincial buses coming from South of Manila to reach only up to Pasay City, and those from the North to unload at Cubao terminals during the ban.
Meanwhile, provincial buses coming from the South that do not have terminals in Pasay City are advised to use the government's Southwest Interim Provincial Terminal (SWIPT) along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard.
In a phone interview, Garcia said the MMDA is in talks with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on possibly lowering fares for the affected provincial buses.
“Since they will only be allowed in the outskirts of Metro Manila, that means that the trip would be shorter since they won’t have to spend time in traffic,” Garcia told Rappler, adding that this would help operators save on gas expenses.
Cheaper fares for these buses would also help offset any additional cost to passengers who would have to get another ride to go around Metro Manila, he said.
With this development, Garcia said that they expect EDSA to be slightly decongested during rush hour.
"We expect that the regulation would speed up travel of private motorists and passenger buses using the yellow lane along EDSA during peak hours," he said.
The Metro Manila Council approved the regulation in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the capital region amid simultaneous road projects in 2018.