MMDA must have a say in issuance of new franchises to PUBs — Tolentino

December 6, 2010 11:33 am 

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, Dec. 6 — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday said the agency should have a say in the issuance of new franchises to public utility buses (PUBs) in the metropolis to ensure that the number of vehicles correspond to the need on the ground.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said, if implemented, the plan would ensure better coordination between the agency and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), particularly the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), which is in charge of issuing franchises to public utility vehicles (PUVs).

Tolentino said such set up was also among the measures he proposed at the inter-agency traffic and transport management summit last December 3 at the Philippine Social Science Center in Quezon City.

Participants at the summit earlier agreed to fine-tune existing traffic plans and enhance programs such as the no plate, no travel campaign, accident resolution time reduction, authorized vehicle units in authorized routes only, strict vehicle inspection, motorcycle and bike lanes, evaluation of u-turn slots, adoption of traffic engineering standards, standard road signs, bus loading and unloading segregation schemes, resolution of road conflicts, anti-overloading measures, vehicle emission standards enforcement, comprehensive road use education campaign and the non-contact apprehension system to ease traffic problems in Metro Manila.

“My proposal is to designate the MMC (Metro Manila Council) or Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista as chair for Metro Manila in the issuance of franchise for close coordination and rationalization of the number of buses on the roads,” the official said.

But he added the proposal is still up for further deliberations adding that all stakeholders, including the bus owners will be consulted.

The MMC is the policy-making body of the MMDA whose members are the 17 Metro mayors, while Baustista, aside from being the local executive of the largest city in the metropolis, is the head of the special transportation committee of the MMC.

The MMDA chief said the local government units should have a say in the issue as they also contend with traffic problems in their jurisdiction.

Earlier, the agency cited the huge number of PUBs at the Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue (EDSA) as among the factors aggravating the traffic problem.

A study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that despite having a carrying capacity of only 1,800 buses, some 3,600 are now plying EDSA on a daily basis.

This, among others, prompted the MMDA to re-implement the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or the “number-coding” scheme on PUBs plying EDSA and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

Tolentino also proposed the opening of more secondary roads to traffic to accommodate the increasing number of public and private vehicles that took to the streets each year.

In 2007, Metro Manila has 1.5 million registered vehicles, while in 2009, the number of registered vehicles went up to 1.8 million, he said. (PNA)

DCT/CLTC

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