The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday justified before the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) its petition seeking reduced fares for provincial buses using the Southwest Interim Integrated Terminal (SIIT).
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the fare rollback is timely since the buses from Cavite and Batangas save on operational and maintenance expenses by using the terminal in Paranaque City.
“The bus companies are using the SITT for free, it has been subsidized by the government. Their savings are sufficient enough to lower the fare,” said Tolentino.
The MMDA, in its petition, is seeking an eight to 20 percent fare cut.
“If the petition is approved, minimum fare for Cavite and Batangas buses could go down by at least P10,” he added.
He said buses save up to 3.75 liters of fuel per trip since their travel time has been cut and they avoid heavy traffic going to their terminals in Manila.
Based on the current SIIT data, PUBs make an average four trips to and from the terminal per day. That means bus companies could save at least P600 per day on fuel consumption alone, Tolentino said.
He added that provincial buses pay monthly terminal fees of up to P240,000, while others pay P3,500 per day.
By using the SITT, buses could save at least P2.8 million a year in terminal expenses. At 3,500 per day, bus companies would save at least P105,000 a month or 1.2 million a year in terminal or parking fees, he said.
A shorter travel distance also translates to less wear and tear on the buses, reducing maintenance expenses, Tolentino said.
Private citizens Ligaya Cagurangan, Rosita dela Cruz, Anelita Abary, and Lilibeth Pilola joined the petition, saying that as residents of Cavite they stand to be directly affected by the outcome of the petition.
With the opening of the SIIT, buses from Cavite and Bantangas have been barred from entering Metro Manila.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO