After an uproar and a lot of backlash, the MMDA has spoken up regarding the imposed provincial bus window hours. Two days ago, commuters were stranded claiming that no proper announcement was made on the new travel times of provincial buses. On the same day, the LTFRB denied any involvement in the scheme, saying that it was only based on an agreement between provincial bus operators and the MMDA.
The LTFRB furthered its position yesterday by explaining that the permits they issued allow provincial buses to transport passengers at any given time. This particular clause would then negate the window hours, correct? They likewise added that should any provincial buses should use integrated terminal exchanges should their travel fall outside the allowable times. And also at the same time, non-conformism to the MMDA’s new provincial bus window hours will also be subject to penalization. Confusing for everyone, isn’t it?
Today, it’s the MMDA’s turn to explain the provincial bus window hours. According to MMDA Chairman Romando Artes, provincial buses are allowed on their usual routes in and out of Metro Manila outside of the 10:00 PM – 5:00 AM window hours. This is so long as they end their trips at designated terminals. Artes went further to explain that outside the said hours, provincial bus trips must end at the North Luzon Express Terminal in Bocaue, Bulacan, and at the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX).
From these two terminals, passengers can board different transportation to get to their destination. The MMDA has also assigned more integrated terminals for buses coming from specific regions and provinces where passengers can board and alight.
The statement from the MMDA also confirmed an agreement with the provincial bus operators. Both parties had a “gentleman’s agreement” that required compliance with the new policies set by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the LTFRB, which are then implemented by the MMDA for the new provincial bus window hours.
“Provincial buses are not prohibited from operating beyond the said window hours, provided that they do not terminate the trips at their own terminals.” – Romando Artes, MMDA Chairman
As of today, both the MMDA and the LTFRB have made statements to clear any possible confusion regarding the new provincial bus window hours. Spread the word, and go help out our fellow commuters. This doesn’t make things immediately easier, but at least it’s information everyone needs to be more aware of their travel times, and where they can travel to.