Alex Yague, executive director of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, told “The Chiefs,” which aired on Cignal TV’s One News channel on Monday, that the policy only inconvenienced commuters.
Michael Varcas
MMDA urged: Junk provincial bus ban
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Provincial bus operators and commuters have asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to scrap its ban on provincial buses picking up and dropping off passengers along EDSA.

 Alex Yague, executive director of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, told “The Chiefs,” which aired on Cignal TV’s One News channel on Monday, that the policy only inconvenienced commuters.

“It should be stopped. There is no discernible reduction in traffic,” he said in Filipino, noting that commuters were forced to go to interim terminals because they were no longer allowed to get off along EDSA.

 Yague clarified that as an operator he agrees with the ban since it would make driving along EDSA more convenient, but the policy does not help commuters.

 Rising costs

Elvira Medina, Department of Transportation (DOTr) assistant secretary for commuters’ affairs, echoed Yague’s sentiments, adding that the MMDA should have considered the rising transportation expenses before implementing the bus ban and removing bus terminals from EDSA.

“It is not only inconvenient, but economically unsuitable, as we know, the cost of transportation now is going higher and higher,” Medina told “The Chiefs.”  

She also asked if the MMDA had conducted a “more scientific investigation” before coming up with an “experimental policy” that inconvenienced commuters. 

 “It is not fair for commuters to become guinea pigs,” Medina added.     

 The DOTr official said some government employees who availed themselves of the government’s housing projects outside Metro Manila complained they had to endure longer commutes.

Under the MMDA’s bus ban, provincial buses from the north are only allowed at the interim bus terminal in Valenzuela City while those coming from the south are only allowed up to Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  

Focus on safety 

Responding to Medina and Yague, MMDA traffic czar Edison Nebrija said the MMDA’s policy does not focus on reducing the traffic problem on EDSA alone, but on ensuring the safety of the commuters using the bus terminals. 

“It’s more on safety. We make sure we are ready. We will do this phase by phase,” Nebrija said. 

 He also said that he understands the sentiments of Yague and Medina, but insisted that the MMDA will push through with the full implementation of the policy by June this year.

 Under MMDA’s Regulation No. 19-002, all Metro Manila mayors are encouraged to prohibit or revoke the issuance of business permits to all public utility bus terminals and operators along EDSA. 

 The MMDA started its dry run for the provincial bus ban on EDSA on Monday. Bus drivers caught picking up or dropping off passengers along EDSA will be fined P500. 

Nebrija said that around 3,500 provincial buses will be affected by the MMDA’s policy and the agency will close down around 47 provincial bus terminals on EDSA. 

METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PROVINCIAL BUS BAN
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