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Dagdag gulo! DOTr eyes new bus routes in Metro Manila as ban on provincial buses starts on April 22

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MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is mulling new city bus routes in Metro Manila as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) starts its strict enforcement of the “no loading and unloading policy” of provincial buses along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) after the Holy Week.

DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport Mark de Leon said it is coordinating with the MMDA for the extension of the routes of city buses to ensure ease of travel among commuters.

“We have been planning with the MMDA for the operations of interim terminals in Santa Rosa and Valenzuela because the permanent terminals, which is the ITX for FTI in south, in Taguig, and the one in north, in Bulacan will still take time. The MMDA has forwarded to us their request for new routes including the extension of city routes to these proposed terminals,” De Leon said in a television interview on Wednesday.

“The franchises of buses with trips ending in Alabang will have to be revised so that it can pick up passengers in Santa Rosa. Provincial buses coming from the south will end trips in Santa Rosa and then be picked up by city buses,” he added.

He said new routes for buses and UV Express would be developed for these to have connectivity with the terminals.

The new routes will be effective once the bus operators receive their franchises with the revised routes.

The DOTr is currently in talks with bus operators regarding the routes which shall be approved by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Starting April 22, provincial buses that would load and unload passengers along Edsa, as well as other major roads in Metro Manila, would be apprehended, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

The provincial buses must use their designated terminals in picking up and dropping off passengers.

The agency would conduct its dry run for the closure of bus terminals along Edsa after Holy Week.

Meanwhile, provincial bus operators have appealed to the MMDA to stop the implementation of the provincial bus ban as this will affect commuters coming from provinces who travel to Metro Manila every day.

“We are prepared for the provincial bus ban but we are appealing to the MMDA to review this and if it is possible stop its implementation as this will affect commuters that are going to Metro Manila everyday using the provincial buses,” said Alex Yague Jr., Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines Executive Director.

Bus operators will be obliged to use the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange and the interim bus terminals in Valenzuela City and Santa Rosa, Laguna during the dry run.

The MMDA will coordinate with the local government units of Pasay City and Quezon City, which have jurisdiction over the bus terminals along Edsa. The agency eyes to close down all 47 bus terminals along Edsa by June. (PNA)