SANTA ROSA CITY, Philippines – The newly built Santa Rosa Integrated Terminal (SRIT) has remained virtually empty from the dry run of the provincial bus ban to Edse last week, when only a few buses stopped at the South Luzon hub.
But Mayor Danilo Fernandez said he didn't care about the situation because the local government didn't want to rush commuters and bus drivers to get used to the new route.
A dry bus ban started last week with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which is to finally close the terminals of bus terminals in Edsa in May.
In the meantime, about 5,000 buses from the provinces of Laguna, Quezon and Batangas and from the Bicol area could only travel up to SRIT, where passengers would have to pass on city buses or take personal supplies to Metro Manila.
Bulan, on a Sorsogon slope who wanted to be identified as Janice, was a lone passenger in the SRIT waiting room when he visited the terminal on Saturday.
"They said the bus had already left Pasay (a city in Metro Manila) at 7 am It may have been stuck in traffic," she said.
But Janice, 36, did not notice waiting for an hour when she said it was more advantageous for her than having to travel from this town to Pasay, so she spent more on the fare.
When the bus arrived at 9:20 am, the staff of the terminal helped Janice get in the car with the luggage on the move.
Another woman who tried to drive to Cubao, Quezon City, said she prefers to deliver.
So far, there is no restriction with Edsu deliveries.
No city bus
Inquirer didn't see any city bus at SRIT. Instead, supply operators said they were expecting more commuters, preferring them to buses when the new Edsa policy was fully implemented.
“So far, only a few buses stop [SRIT] and only for dry running, "said the bus operator on Monday.
The operator, who asked not to be named to avoid MMDA, said the buses avoided stopping during rush hour because their passengers would be angry when they see that dry running is another cause of delaying their journey .
“We want to help [the national government] in the alienation of Edsy. But we told them we'd do it a bit. Customizing the bus (we need to regulate the entry of buses), Fernandez said on Monday.
In anticipation of the large volume of utility vehicles entering Santa Rosa City, Fernandez said the city is working to expand the roads along the bus lines connecting SRIT with the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).
The nearby town of Biñan, which has jurisdiction over the Mamplasan exit (the nearest SLEx exit to reach SRIT), also suggests that buses enter only during certain hours of the day.
The 1.5 hectare SRIT, built and managed by a chain of shopping centers, is just a "temporary" terminal in the south. It has several passenger seats, toilets and a fully air-conditioned waiting room.
Fernandez said that if things turned out well, the city government and the Ministry of Transport would push for the construction of a larger 10-hectare terminal next to the SRIT.
He said that a larger terminal, which should become the largest in the Philippines, would be "linked" to the Philippine national rail system, which would be an additional option to get trains instead.
Another plan, he said, is to build an overpass near the Mamplasan exit to prevent the accumulation of traffic in Laguna.
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