Costlier integrated terminal for commuters
The government’s insistence that commuters use integrated bus terminals instead of provincial bus stations has forced them to frequent non-franchised (colorum) vehicles, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
This, according to the study “Transportation policy potholes: analysis Metro Manila’s Covid-19 response” by Cielo Magno, Kevin Daniel Quizon and Dante Gatmaytan of the University of the Philippines.
The study, published in the June-December 2021 issue of The Philippine Review of Economics, noted that commuters to provinces from Metro Manila and back must pay up to seven times the fares charged by provincial buses.
“The inconvenience caused by the mandatory use of integrated terminals by provincial buses has caused passengers to switch to unregulated ‘colorum’ vans or private vehicles that charge three to seven times the fare of a regular bus ride “, said the authors.
For example, provincial air-conditioned buses charge P150 from Manila to San Fernando, Pampanga and vice versa, while colorum vehicles charge P500 to P1,000; and it is P1,300 for a provincial bus ride from Manila to Masbate and vice versa, while colorum vehicles charge P3,500.
They also said that since colorum vehicles are illegal operations, they do not require commuters to be covered by mandatory health protocols. And since colorum vehicles are not required to use the on-board terminals, these vehicles, ironically, can provide more convenient service to commuters by reducing transfers to other modes of public transportation.
“They (colorum vehicles) also do not need to use the integrated terminals. Therefore, they can transport passengers directly to Metro Manila, reducing the number of transfers to reach their destinations. This is resulting in a more convenient and shorter travel time,” the authors mentioned.
However, the lack of imposition of health protocols to curb the spread of Covid-19 among colored vehicles endangers the health of passengers.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) recently put operations of the North Luzon Express Terminal at Bocaue, Bulacan and Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange on hold until further studies are completed.