Govt sets Sept launch of north interim bus terminal in Caloocan

PREPARATIONS are under way to transform a swampy and disheveled 1-hectare lot into an interim north provincial bus terminal in Caloocan City as end-point for at least 376 provincial buses from Northern Luzon in a bid to solve the perennial traffic- congestion problem along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa).

Stakeholders at Thursday’s meeting, led by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, together with Camanava Mayors Oscar Malapitan of Caloocan City, Antolin Oreta of Malabon City and John Rey Tiangco of Navotas City and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Winston Ginez, jointly announced that before September ends, the said idle privately owned lot near the Monumento Rotunda would be ready to accommodate the provincial buses coming from Pangasinan, Tarlac and other parts of Northern Luzon.

According to Tolentino, the MMDA and Camanava local governments will pool their efforts to flatten and tidy up the open space in about two weeks’ time to beat the September deadline for its opening.

“All available resources and manpower will be on hand to speed up the rehabilitation of the north terminal,” the MMDA chief said, even as he explained that an intermodal system is already in place nearby, where passengers disembarking from the provincial buses can easily access a jeepney terminal on the eastern side, and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and city buses on Edsa. Tolentino said these buses will only be allowed only up to Monumento.

Earlier this week the MMDA, together with the LTFRB and the city government of Muntinlupa, opened the South Interim Provincial Terminal in Filinvest, Alabang, for passenger buses coming from Southern Luzon.

The opening of interim provincial terminals south and north of Metro Manila was hatched after Metro Manila mayors, the MMDA and the LTFRB agreed to no longer allow provincial public-utility buses to ply Edsa to reduce the volume of vehicles traversing Edsa. According to Tolentino, the government is relentlessly addressing all legitimate concerns regarding the operations of these interim terminals.

“These terminals are temporary and will cease operations once the constructions of the integrated transport hubs are completed. Everyone, including the bus operators, drivers, passengers and the government need to adjust and cooperate so we can have discipline and order on our roads,” he added.

Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

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