Complaints mar opening of MMDA bus terminal
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - August 6, 2013 - 5:26pm

MANILA, Philippines - The opening of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's 1.4-hectare Southwest Interim Transport Terminal (SITT)  at the Uniwide Coastal Mall in  Parañaque City Monday was met by complaints and confusion.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino who personally inspected the opening of the terminal, found himself at the recieving end of the complaints from commuters.

For 57-year old teacher Helen Iligan of Dasmariñas, Cavite, the operation of the terminal meant delays as she, and other commuters would have to transfer to another bus on arrival at the integrated bus terminal.

“Dahil sa lilipat-lipat na ako ng masasakyan pagbaba dun sa terminal mas lalong matatagalan sa byahe. Sa sitwasyon ko ngayon mahirap talaga dahil kung sa ngayon maaga na ako nagigising para bumiyahe mas agahan ko pa dito ang pag gising at pag-alis sa bahay,” Iligan said.

She said she doesn’t mind the extra amount that they would shell for the bus fare since they have to transfer to another bus that will ferry them from the integrated terminal adding that she is more concerned about the delay it would cause.

Bus drivers were also confused on where to park despite the big signages put up by the MMDA at the terminal.

Tolentino said such problems are expected since it is the first day of the terminal's operation.

“Nauunawaan po namin na may kaunting kalituhan pero sa tingin ko po sa mga darating na araw ay maaayos ito at maipapaliwanag natin ito,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino said the MMDA is now coordinating with all stakeholders—the bus operators, local officials and other government agencies such as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ensure the terminal's smooth operation.

Tolentino added that the LTFRB is set to hear on August 23 the MMDA’s petition for a P2-fare reduction for bus passengers from Cavite and Batangas.

Meanwhile, a commuter advocacy group said the confusion at the opening of the MMDA integrated bus terminal in Parañaque  City was expected.

“This just shows the lack of preparedness and study by the MMDA,” says Elvie Medina, president of the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection (NCCSP).

"Because there is no effort to really analyze what causes Metro Manila traffic, schemes like these will fail and will cause inconvenience every single day while MMDA implements this central bus terminal scheme, “ Medina added.

Medina is opposing the scheme because there is no developed intra- and inter-city modal system that would support a centralized bus terminal scheme. She says that provincial buses, which roughly consists about  6 percent of overall vehicular traffic along EDSA, is not the problem.

Medina says that city buses, colorum jeepneys, bad driving habits and lack of a more expansive road network contribute to EDSA traffic.

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