Mayors ask LTFRB: Don't change provincial bus routes

By Mike Frialde, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 03 2014 08:51 AM | Updated as of Aug 03 2014 04:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of all the mayors of Metro Manila, urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Friday to spare Metro Manila from its “rationalization” of provincial bus routes.

The MMC also serves as the policy-making arm of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

In a two-page resolution issued by the MMC’s special traffic committee, the LTFRB was urged not only to exclude the metropolis from the bus routes rationalization but to also intensify its campaign against public utility vehicles going outside their prescribed routes.

The resolution cited the recent studies conducted by the MMDA and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) showing that “one of the effective methods of decongesting traffic in Metro Manila is to restrict public provincial buses (PPBs) from entering Metro Manila.”

The LTFRB earlier issued a memorandum circular that laid down the implementing guidelines on the conduct of the rationalization of provincial bus routes, particularly of buses plying routes between Metro Manila and the provinces in Southern Luzon.

In addition, the MMC said the LTFRB did not consult concerned Metro Manila local government units and the MMDA prior to the issuance of the circular.

The LTFRB earlier issued its guidelines for bus operators to modify authorized routes, in a bid to resolve mass-transport concerns regarding out-of-line vehicles and illegally operating or colorum public utility buses.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez earlier said his agency has issued the memorandum circular “to rationalize the existing routes and to designate a specific number of units for routes that have the most passenger demand.”

In connection with this rationalization, no new certificates of public convenience will be issued to bus operators.

Bus operators may modify their authorized routes to meet current and future passenger needs. They can petition to amend their authorized routes, depending on the passenger demand, he said.

Under the LTFRB guidelines, bus operators must maintain their own terminals at the origin and destination points of their proposed modified routes.

However, the MMC noted that Malacañang had approved on Feb. 21, 2012 the establishment of a multi-modal transport system by integrating mass transportation systems. The MMC added that in July last year, the Office of the President also issued Amendment Order 40, which provides for the creation of interim transport terminals to reduce pollution on EDSA and to decongest the Metro’s roads.

The MMC said the MMDA’s Southwest Integrated Public Transport Terminal became operational in August 2013 pursuant to AO 40. With the creation of the SWIPTT, provincial buses coming from the south, particularly Cavite, terminate their routes at the SWIPTT, which is located at the grounds of the former Coastal Mall in Parañaque City.