THE government has approved a proposal for the creation of a “giant” integrated bus terminal facility for northbound provincial buses that is also expected to significantly contribute to easing the volume of traffic in Metro Manila streets.
Atty. Glicerio Santos, chief operating officer of Maligaya Development Corp. (MDC), which is in charge of the operation of the Ciudad de Victoria complex in Bocaue, Bulacan, said the new facility, to be known as the North Luzon Express Terminal (NLET) would rise beside the famed Philippine Arena.
Santos said they have already signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of the NLET.
Once finished, the new facility is expected to handle traffic involving over 6,000 northbound provincial buses and upwards to 97,000 daily passengers traveling back and forth between Metro Manila and the North.
“This (northbound terminal complex) has been discussed for a long time and we hear plans about this, but nothing ever happens.
“This is why we appreciate the initiative of DOTr Secretary Art Tugade, who is clearly serious about addressing our traffic crisis,” Santos added.
He further noted that based on a study by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), the worsening traffic in Metro Manila costs around P3.5 billion a day in lost financial opportunities.
“These losses will climb to P5.4 billion a day by 2035 if nothing is done,” he noted.
“To decongest traffic in Mega Manila, it has been recommended that transport intervention should include the improvement of bus services through an intermodal bus terminal and interchange facility, ideally located outside Mega Manila,” Santos explained further.
Santos said the NLET would ensure “efficient and seamless travel for the 97,000 people who travel to and from the North every day.”
Santos said that provincial bus passengers will benefit from reduced walking, reduced transfer distances, better integration of facilities, and increased safety as they need only to go to one integrated bus terminal that will provide them options from a variety of bus operators found in one location.
“For bus operators, locating the integrated bus terminal north of Mega Manila will reduce provincial bus operating costs due to shortened routes that will end at Philippine Arena, and lower maintenance costs from their individual terminals inside the metropolis,” added Santos.
In the presentation of the JICA study at the 36th Joint Meeting of the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committees in Makati, JICA chief representative Susumu Ito said that growing congestion in Metro Manila and nearby provinces emphasized the need for new, modern infrastructures.
“The conclusion that we have is that ‘Build, Build, Build’ is a move in the right direction. It’s a must do,” Ito said, referring to the Duterte administration’s centerpiece infrastructure program.