More than 2.5 million commuters, mostly transients from outlying provinces such as Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Rizal and Laguna will be severely affected once the MMDA implements its capricious plan of relocating provincial bus terminals away from their present locations.
Ninety one percent, says Elvira Medina, president of the National Commuters Protection, of commuters is against the bus relocation plan, saying that this will cost them more transport money, more time to go to their workplaces and will probably affect bus fares, since government, thru the MMDA will impose a 350php terminal fee for every bus that uses the terminals.
In an interview, Medina says the MMDA plan is actually okay if Metro Manilans are prepared. Had government built an integrated intra- and inter-city modal system, such schemes would have been possible. In our time right now, such ideas will just bring chaos and confusion.
MMDA plans to implement a unified bus terminal system. The plan says that provincial buses plying the North Luzon route should use the Trinoma terminal. Those coming from Cavite and using Coastal mall, should use the Uniwide bus terminal. The festival mall in Ayala Alabang will serve those coming from the Southern corridor while in the East, there is a plan to rent out the Robinsons East mall.
What the scheme will do is this:
1. If you're a commuter coming from, say Bulacan, you will need to ride a provincial bus going to Trinoma. From Trinoma, you will then ride another public transport, either a city bus or a jeepney or a tricycle. Imagine the chaos this will cause since: extra city buses will then converge in this area aside from additional taxis, mini-buses, jeeps and private vehicles which will all go to this singular area to fetch those commuters.
2. People say, commuters should use the MRT. The MRT can only accommodate 850,000 passengers in a single day. Imagine the long lines and chaos if that extra 2.5 million transient commuters use the MRT line.
3. Of course, several commuters will use taxis. Additional taxis going to this area will definitely add more pressure and vehicular volume. This segment of EDSA will definitely turn into a chokepoint, instead of freeing EDSA of traffic.
4. What about commuters who carry cargo? Small-time vegetable dealers use provincial buses as their primary freight mode of transport. where will they place their cargoes? unto jeepneys and taxis? City buses and MRT do not have cargo bays.
In sum, this MMDA plan is headed for a disaster. MMDA plans to have a dry-run this Thursday and operationalize the Southern bus terminal by August 6.
I admire MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino. Pero, sir, you are creating a potential public riot if you implement this.
Even if this pushes through, this will only de-clog EDSA by 6% since all provincial buses comprise about 6% of the total volume of vehicles plying the highway, once, twice and thrice a day.