HARD-UP students and low-income commuters from the provinces want the buses plying their full routes through the “Gates of Hell” to save fare money and travel time—but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority apparently only hears what it wants to hear.
MMDA head Francis Tolen-tino on Friday expressed willingness to meet with commuters who have complaints against the operations of the Southwest Interim Transport Terminal (SITT).
In welcoming the opposition of the Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC) on the bus terminal, Tolentino said he wanted to hear its comments on how they can improve the facility.
He issued the statement after the CFC staged a protest on Thursday in front of the facility in Parañaque City to stop its operation.
CFC spokesman Ernalyn Quimada called on the MMDA chief to reconsider the operation of the integrated bus terminal describing it as “anti-poor.”
“We wish to tell the MMDA chairman to stop the operation of the terminal,” said Quimada, adding that it causes inconveniencies to the commuters.
Besides the inconvenience it brings to the commuters, Qui-mada said the terminal also prolongs their travel since they have to transfer to another passenger vehicle that result in coughing up more fare money.
But Tolentino admitted that it would take some time before commuters get used to this new system, which is designed to ease traffic congestion in the metropolis.
Reacting to the complaints of the CFC, Tolentino said he already asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to reduce the fares of public utility buses (PUBs) plying Cavite and Batangas to and from the SITT.
The petition before the LTFRB seeks an 8-percent reduction to the current fare rates from Cavite and Batangas to Manila.
The establishment of integrated terminals is meant to get rid of “colorum” and “out-of-line” vehicles since it comes equipped with a biometric technology to subject bus drivers to fingerprint scanning for verification before they are allowed to ply their route.