MMDA eyes to defer provincial bus ban on Edsa

By Aerol John Pateña

MANILA -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is eyeing to defer the implementation of the provincial bus ban on Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (EDSA).

The policy, which is set to be implemented on Aug. 15, aims to ease traffic congestion in the major thoroughfare by reducing the number of provincial buses.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the Valenzuela City government has expressed its concern on whether it can accommodate provincial buses on the integrated bus terminal in the city.

“Yung sa provincial bus ban sinuportahan naman tayo nagkaroon lang kami ng konting problema sa implementation baka nga di matuloy yung Aug. 15 sa Valenzuela (We have gained the support for the provincial bus ban. However, we have encountered some concerns on the implementation, so it is most likely that the implementation on Aug. 15 in Valenzuela will be delayed),” Garcia said in a media interview on the sidelines of the regular meeting of the Metro Manila Council in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.

Garcia, however, said the city government is fully backing the traffic scheme.

“Si Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian 100 percent ang support niya. Ang problema may mga konting structure pa doon na kailangan pang gawin. Di natin ito mamadaliin (Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian is supporting us 100 percent. The problem is that there are some structures that needed to be fixed. We will not rush this),” he added.

He said the agency will be inspecting the facility with the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to determine its capacity to handle provincial buses.

“Less than 300 buses ang i-divert namin sa Valenzuela (We are aiming to divert less than 300 buses in Valenzuela),” Garcia said.

The MMDA earlier said buses from provinces, such as Bulacan, Bataan, and Pampanga may use the Valenzuela Gateway Complex Central Integrated Terminal. The terminal can accommodate about 298 buses.

The agency is eyeing a ban on select provincial bus routes on EDSA -- from Balintawak to Magallanes -- with the opening of the Valenzuela terminal.

In a previous press briefing, Garcia said the ban is in line with the intermodal transport system being proposed by the DOTr to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Under the system, provincial buses will no longer be allowed to traverse along major roads in Metro Manila. Terminals will be installed outside the metropolis as these buses and passengers will be linked to other modes of public transportation, such as city buses, jeepneys, and taxis.

Three bus terminals are set to be operational in various parts of Metro Manila -- the bus terminal in Valenzuela, which will operate this August; the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, which is set to open in September; and the bus terminal in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, which is expected to open in December this year. (PNA)