Gov't to complete bus terminal system by 2015 - Abaya

MANILA, Philippines - The government wants to complete its integrated provincial bus terminal system by December 2015, 6 months before President Benigno Aquino III's term ends, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.

Abaya said the government has began a feasibility study and is looking at 3 sites where it will put up bus terminals. These include the Food Terminal Inc. complex in Taguig City, one along Coastal Road and another near Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City.

"We've heard that one proponent is going to submit an unsolicited proposal for one site but we have yet to receive it," Abaya said. "We will try to finish it by December 2015. We will focus on it and complete it by 2015."

Opposition from bus operators

Abaya said bus operators are opposing the planned project, which will be a joint venture between the government and private firms. He said the government nevertheless informed these operators early on so they can adjust their operations.

He said bus companies need to move out of the "triangular perimeter" that the government will create to help decongest Metro Manila. The perimeter will be bordered by the 3 bus terminals. 

Come 2015, when the bus terminal system is completed, all buses will only be allowed outside of the perimeter. This perimeter fences EDSA and other areas where provincial buses will not be allowed to enter. 

"They already know the plan they couldn't argue that they weren't notified. Second, I think [their terminals along EDSA] are prime properties. They can earn more from these than just using them as a garage for their buses. They can put up their own buildings or whatever, it will be much more profitable for them. If they refuse, the government will decide on how best to deal with the situation and solve the congestion of Metro Manila," Abaya explained.

The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board earlier said of the 13,067 total buses that ply Metro Manila roads, nearly 60% or 7,736 are provincial buses. Only 5,331 are city-wide buses, 3,718 of which ply EDSA. - Rappler.com