MANILA, Philippines— Without a doubt, bustling bus stops are already a part of the metro's commuting culture. Every day, thousands of commuters flock to terminals to cross cities or go outside the capital region.
Many of them, however, are expected to be closed down in the coming weeks, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced Friday, July 21.
In a list released to the media, the MMDA said that of 16 bus stations along busy EDSA, 11 are in danger of closure for violating government rules and regulations. (INFOGRAPHIC: How to find the right bus on EDSA)
These stations are:
To be allowed to operate legally, bus terminals must have business and barangay permits and terminal compliance. They must also follow the nose-in, nose-out policy.
Terminal compliance is checked off by the MMDA after getting locational, fire safety, and waste management clearances, also sanitary and special use permits.
The nose-in, nose-out policy requires stations to ensure that their buses need to enter front first, and exit front first, so that no parking maneuvers are done along major thoroughfares.
The complying bus terminals are:
The list of erring bus stations and their violations will be sent by the MMDA to the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) on Monday, July 24.
Bus stations that are not compliant with all requirements will automatically receive a cease and desist order from the BPLO, and will be temporarily suspended.
They are required to report to the licensing office within 5 days or risk permanent closure.
Those that violate only some of the provisions will receive a show-cause order and must convince the BPLO that their terminals do not deserve a cease and desist order.
Should they refuse to appear in 5 days, they will automatically receive a cease and desist order.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago advised patron commuters of the blacklisted terminals to find alternative routes to their travels, as the terminals can get closed at any time in the coming weeks, depending on the BPLO. (READ: WANTED: new sites for Metro Manila bus terminals)
When asked why so many bus stations have been non-compliant, Pialago said "Nakasanayan na." (They are used to it.)
Pialago recalled they have been in talks with the operators of the terminals since late 2016 ordering them to at least comply with minimum standards, but to no avail.
They had to take action. They could not have the erring terminals closed down, so they talked to the BPLO.
They agreed that the MMDA will inspect and recommend which terminals to shut down, and the BPLO will file the orders.
"What we did was we took photos and videos, now we are corroborating it [with the] BPLO," Pialago said.
According to Pialago, they found out upon their recent inspection that some bus terminal operators "take a shortcut" getting business permits without barangay permits, even though barangay offices need to give a nod before city offices give the business permit.
Pialago was referring to the cases of RU Diaz Transport and EJC Multipurpose Terminal in Pasay, and Elavil Transport in Quezon City.
They also saw in some business permits that the terminals were only registered as "garages," which is to say buses should only dock in the vicinity but not load and unload passengers.
According to Pialago, they have asked the corresponding local government units to check their offices as to why the shortcuts and violations happened.
For now, she said, they want to end the complacency that has spanned "different administrations." (READ: Why the EDSA bus segregation system doesn't work)
"Ang haba na ng time na binigay, October or November 2016 pa, ilang diyalogo. I think that’s enough, we won't allow this to continue. Marami pang problema ang MMDA na kailangang harapin," she added.
(They were given so much time, since October or November 2016, many dialogues were held. I think that's enough, we won't allow this to continue. The MMDA has many other problems to face.) - Rappler.com