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Scramble for PTIX franchises starts

Sundy Locus

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will issue new franchises for city buses, UV Express vans and jeepneys for Metro Manila destinations to and from the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX).

According to a statement issued jointly by the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation (DoTr), the move is part of the actions being undertaken by the government to address commuters’ complaints regarding PITX.

“We are not playing deaf but are moving to remove the obstacles to the smooth operation of PITX whose objective is to provide comfortable travel to our countrymen from the south (of Metro Manila),” the DoTr-LTFB statement read.

The grant of new franchises to pick up and bring passengers to PITX from such areas as Lawton in Manila, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Ayala, Makati came at the heels of criticisms from passengers of city buses from the cities of Muntinlupa and Las Pinas that their travel time had increased tremendously because of the detour to PITX.

The DoTr-LTFRB statement also noted complaints from the passengers to and from the province of Cavite of not enough bus units serving them at PITX, especially at night, because many drivers of provincial buses had reportedly refused to pass by the new terminal.

The DoTr, in an earlier report, said it will review the exemptions given to 159 provincial buses to bypass PITX. A provincial bus cooperative yesterday pressed that no exemptions to bypass the terminal be given to all provincial buses to level the playing field.

Passengers to and from the Alabang-Zapote road in Muntinlupa and Las Piñas are, on the other hand, pressing that the city bus lines serving them, like Tas Trans and Bensan, no longer be required by LTFRB to detour to PITX when the new franchises are filled up.

Without the detour to PITX, travel time of said city buses from SM Center in Las Piñas to Baclaran took only 30 minutes on the average. With the detour to PITX, travel time for the same points had stretched to 90 minutes or longer, irate workers, students and other passengers told the Daily Tribune.

The DoTr and LTFRB said operators of provincial bus lines reported to Transportation Usec. Mark de Leon the insistence of their drivers to bypass PTIX since the operators pay the fines levied them by the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-Act) for “bypassing” the terminal.

“Based on the monitoring of DoTr and LTFRB, the number of buses following the route set in line with the operation of PITX is smaller than what’s on the database,” the statement noted.

“This is the reason why there’s a shortage of buses passing through PITX to pick up passengers. This is the cause of passenger build-up at PITX especially at night,” it added.

Based on De Leon’s meeting with the operators and in line with DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade’s guidance, the LTFRB under Chairman Martin Delgra III had decided to come out with the new franchises.

There will be 15 bus units for each of the following routes: PITX to NAIA airport, BGC, Ayala via Buendia and Lawton. The release of the new franchises will be based on a pre-qualification selection process.

LTFRB will accept the applications for the new franchises at PITX.

On the scarcity of UV Express at PITX, the DoTr-LTFRB statement noted the admission of UV Express operators themselves that thousands of vans are colorum or without valid franchises, thus are lying low in the face of the crackdown by I-ACT.

To address this not only in Metro Manila but all over the country, the LTFRB said it will issue franchises for 577 units of UV Express broken down as follows: Region 4, 150 units; Region 5, 112; Region 10, 70; Lanao del Sur, 50; and CARAGA, 195.

For Metro Manila, additional 300 UV franchises will be issued for PITX via Molino and 200 for Bacoor to PITX via Molino.

While about 1,000 public utility jeepneys are already serving areas of Cavite to and from PTIX, LTFRB said it has decided to grant more franchises.

For Paliparan to Molino and Dasmariñas to PITX via Aguinaldo Highway, 20 PUJ additional units will be allowed for each route.

The LTFRB said it will enforce Memorandum Circular 2018-22 mandating all provincial bus lines from the south to terminate their trips at PITX. It clarified that only 159 units of the total 963 bus units from the southern part of Metro Manila had been given permission to travel past PITX.

LTFRB said many provincial bus drivers do not like the PITX scheduling system as they have grown accustomed to stopping for 30 to 45 minutes in Baclaran and Lawton awaiting passengers.

The DoTr and LTFRB said they have also communicated to PITX proponent MWM Terminals Inc. the grievances of both the drivers and commuters on the system prevailing in the land terminal.

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