A welcome relief for commuters.
That's how PASAHERO Party-list founder Robert Nazal described the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) decision to implement a two-week dry run for the return of provincial buses on EDSA starting March 24.
“It’s a welcome relief for the commuting public who had experienced hardship and inconvenience going to and coming from provinces during the pandemic,” Nazal said in a statement.
According to MMDA, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) gave the green light to allow provincial buses to pass through EDSA from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. after IATF Resolution No. 101 on uniform travel protocols, which was issued in February 2021, expired on March 24.
The IATF stands for Inter-Agency Task Force, which deals with protocols in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nazal lauded the MMDA, DOTr and LTFRB for finally allowing provincial buses to ply along EDSA.
He said the return of provincial buses on EDSA is particularly important to poor commuters, who do not have their own cars.
“Masasabi natin na ang mga kapus-palad na pasaherong patungo at galing probinsya ang tinamaan ng husto ng pandemya dahil wala silang sariling sasakyan. Dalawang taon din nilang tiniis ang hirap at pasakit ng paglalakbay papasok at palabas ng Metro Manila (We cam say that it's the poor going to and fro the province who were mainly hit by the pandemic because they had no manner of conveyance. For two years, they endured the hardships of the journey going in and out of Metro Manila),” he added.
PASAHERO co-founder Allan Yap noted that under the previous set-up, passengers from provinces were required to disembark in terminal exchanges too far from their actual destinations in Metro Manila. This forced the commuters to take several more rides.
“Aside from the inconvenience and additional cost in fares, passengers were also at risk of contracting Covid-19,” Yap said.
Yap said that allowing provincial buses on EDSA would “help accommodate the influx of commuters following the gradual reopening of the economy and the Lenten rush".