Please mind the commuters, Poe tells provincial bus operators

Senator Grace Poe on Monday, April 25 told concerned provincial bus operators to carry out their duties accordingly and service passengers, many of whom have been stranded and inconvenienced since last week.

"'Wag naman natin silang ipitin at pahirapan pa sa pag-aabang, pagbabakasakali at pagpapalipat-lipat ng masasakyan (Don’t make their lives difficult as they wait, hoping to get a ride and transferring from one vehicle to another),” Poe said.

"The bottomline is to serve our passengers coming to and from the provinces carrying heavy belongings, with meager resources and no home or place to stay in Metro Manila," the Senate Public Services Committee Chairwoman reminded operators.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued show-cause orders to six provincial buses to explain why passengers were unduly stranded, setting a virtual hearing on May 10.

Some provincial bus operators allegedly limited their operations based on the window hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the use of their respective private terminals in Metro Manila. Transport officials maintained that the said buses could ply to the National Capital Region (NCR) even outside the said hours to their designated intermodal terminals.

The senator's team made rounds at the intermodal transport terminals, including the North Luzon Express Terminal in Bocaue, Bulacan, which had few buses and passengers last Friday.

"What further hurts commuters is that they have to shell out more for fares instead of spending less," Poe noted.

Poe earlier raised the urgency to have seamless connectivity in public transportation to be able to conveniently move people faster.

She had also stressed the importance of putting up intermodal terminals in strategic locations for greater access to the public.

"We must place the highest interest of commuters above all. This cannot be compromised," Poe said.

At the same time, Poe urged Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade to take the wheel to ensure that challenges hounding those taking provincial buses to and from Metro Manila are promptly addressed.

"We call on Secretary Tugade to ensure that things work out for our passengers who brave long hours of commuting under risk of peril," Poe said.