Time windows for select provincial buses at NCR terminals come into effect │ GMA News Online

Commuters have expressed frustration over window hours put in place at Metro Manila terminals for provincial buses without QR codes or special permits as the new policy went into effect on Wednesday.

According to James Agustin’s report on Unang Balita, many terminals in the EDSA-Cubao areas have already adjusted their provincial routes to the window hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Commuter Noel Tamesis was surprised he couldn’t buy a ticket for an afternoon return to Baguio City after his appointment at a hospital in San Juan City.

He lamented that commuters who finished their appointment at 10 a.m. have to wait until 10 p.m. for the departure of buses to provinces during window hours.

“Hindi naman yata tama ‘yun. Unang-una, wala silang abiso [That’s not right. In the first place, they have no advisory],” he said.

Another commuter, Kenneth Capaña, said the new policy could be a burden on workers who must meet schedules.

“Medyo mahirap siguro yun kasi depends on the schedule of trabaho saka medyo malayo po kasi kung gagamit naman po ng Grab or magata-taxi,” he said.

(That would be quite difficult considering the work schedule and when it’s too far to grab or taxi.)

Bus companies First North Luzon Transit Inc., Victory Liner Inc.and Five star bus company announced that their departures and arrivals at Metro Manila terminals would only be during window hours.

Alex Yague, executive director of Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas Inc., said northern provincial buses are the most affected as only 30% of them have QR codes and special permits.

According to Yague, provincial buses would have been allowed in Metro Manila from March 10 as the region moved to Alert Level 1. Citing an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) resolution, he added that the use of integrated terminal exchanges is no longer mandatory.

However, he said the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had not updated a circular allowing provincial buses to enter the NCR.

“Unfortunately, the LTFRB has not changed the memorandum circular on buses (LTFRB has not changed the memorandum circular that buses are allowed to enter),” he said.

On March 24, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced a two-week dry run for the return of provincial buses to EDSA after the Department of Transportation gave its approval.

Asked about commuters’ concerns, the MMDA said the matter fell within the purview of the LTFRB.

LTFRB executive director Tina Cassion told reporters in a message that she would issue a statement on the matter soon. —News KBK, GMA

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