PROVINCIAL bus operators have asked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases to rescind its earlier resolution requiring bus firms to use the three designated central terminals in their operations to the provinces.
In a letter dated Dec. 7, 2021 but made available to media yesterday, attorney Vincent Rondaris, president of the Nagkakaisang Samahan ng mga Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus ng Pilipinas, urged the IATF to allow bus operators to use their private terminals in Metro Manila instead of the designated centralized terminals.
On Feb. 26, 2021, the IATF issued Resolution 101, requiring provincial buses to load and unload passengers on designated integrated terminals, notably the Sta. Rosa Integrated Terminal in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange in Paranaque City for provincial buses plying the southern and southwestern routes, and the North Luzon Exchange Terminal in Bocaue, Bulacan.
According to the IATF resolution, buses based in Metro Manila but bound for the provinces are required to use the integrated terminals to serve as its central hub for public transport and prohibited to use their private terminals.
Rondaris claimed the forcible use of the integrated terminals has spawned what he described “percicious consequences.”
He said the resolution has triggered the use of unfranchised vehicles like private vans and cars or the “colorum” vehicles, the unfranchised ones which “do not follow loading capacity, charge unconscionable fares, and fail to comply with minimum health standards.”
“In effect, colorum vans become unmonitored super spreaders of the virus,” Rondaris said.
He added that the use of central hubs has created an unfair situation for passengers en route to northern provinces because unlike the PITX in Paranaque City, the NLET is 30 kilometers from Metro Manila, resulting in inconvenience for passengers, who need to go first to Bocaue and get a tricycle ride.
“Connectivity for provincial passengers to come into Metro Manila because the NLET is virtually not operational. Furthermore, based on our surveys, passengers prefer the starting and end point to be within Metro Manila. Consequently, they vehemently object to the NLET as it adds to their cost of travel and inconvenience of transferring cargo,” Rondaris said.
“Some provincial bus operators have already disregarded your resolution and have loaded and unloaded their passengers in their private terminals here in Metro Manila. Under LTFRB regulations, these are considered out-of-line operations or colorum and subject to a hefty fine of P1,000,000 with possible suspension or revocation of franchise,” Rondaris further said.