THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Sunday asked the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a fare rollback amid the scheduled opening of the integrated bus terminal in Parañaque City.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said a fare reduction is justified because public utility buses (PUBs) will no longer pay huge monthly terminal fees once the integrated bus terminal opens on August 6.
“We are asking the LTFRB to lower the fares since the operational expenses of PUBs will also be lessened,” Tolentino said in his weekly radio program.
He cited the San Agustin Bus company which is paying a monthly fee of P240,000 at Park and Ride terminal in Manila.
Once the Southwest Integrated Bus Terminal in Parañaque City opens, PUBs will no longer have to pay monthly terminal fees.
Tolentino said PUBs can afford to lower their fares because of their big savings. He said they can also give incentives to loyal passengers, particularly students and senior citizens.
He proposed a “point system” wherein passengers will be given loyalty cards. For every three rides, buses can give passengers school supplies for students or coffee for senior citizens.
“Through this, PUBs can increase the purchasing power of their passengers,” Tolentino said.
He explained that the integrated bus terminal located near the Costal Mall in Parañaque City is only temporary because a permanent facility will be constructed in the same location.
The terminal is seen to decongest Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), through which thousands of metro and provincial buses pass daily.
The MMDA said the terminal can handle 955 passenger buses plying the Cavite and Batangas routes on a daily basis, as well as 326 utility vehicles (AUVs, PUJs and taxicabs) to ferry passengers from the terminal to their destinations.
Manila meanwhile has relaxed the ban on buses a bit, limiting the number of buses entering the city and assigning specific loading and unloading zones for them.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada last week issued a resolution banning buses without terminals in the city.
The implementation of the ban on July 23 sparked an uproar from commuters and bus companies.
Now the city appears to have eased the rules a bit.
According to the Manila Police District Traffic Enforcement Unit (MPD-TEU) Chief Inspector Olivia Sagaysay, each bus company can bring in 10 units to Manila. But each bus must carry a signboard, signed by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, displaying its plate and body numbers, and must load and unload passengers only in designated zones.
For buses coming from Quezon City, the bus stops will be near the Espana-UST footbridge, Multi-Modial Terminal in Liwasang Bonifacio, Park & Ride Terminal, Taft Avenue-Rizal Park and Quirino-Taft Avenue.
Buses from Pasay City or Makati can stop only on Quirino-Taft Avenue, Park & Ride Terminal and across Espana-A.Lacson heading to Quezon City.
Buses from San Juan can load and unload only on V.Mapa Centerpoint, Pureza-RM Blvd., TIP in P.Casal/Ayala Bridge and Park&Ride Terminal
With the Manila ban eased, Tolentino hopes the problems it spawned will be sorted out in the next two days.
He said in a radio interview on Sunday that city officials led by Moreno will discuss the ban with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday.
Tolentino said the meeting will center on the ban’s legal aspect, particularly whether it violates the franchises of bus firms plying in Manila.
He said Moreno has also asked him for a dialogue on the ban.
“The problems and issues on the bus ban being implemented by the city of Manila will be resolved within the next two days,” Tolentino said.
Although the MMDA is not opposing the implementation of Manila City Council Resolution No. 48, Tolentino said, it should be jibe with the overall traffic management plan for Metro Manila.