Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino dismissed claims made by bus operators and drivers that they are losing money due to the Southwest Integrated terminal.
“It’s not true,” he said in a phone interview with ANC. “What we have in our records that before this bus terminal, they have an average of 3 trips per day. Now they average four to 5 trips per day. More income for them and for the bus operators they are not paying a single centavo as a terminal fee, unlike before when they are paying 240,000 a month.”
The MMDA chief added that the operators can use the money they save for other bus drivers and conductors’ privileges and in the reduction of fares since they ply shorter routes.
Tolentino made the statements while bus operators and drivers staged a protest in the Paranaque terminal Tuesday morning.
Bus drivers, conductors, and operators staged a noise barrage and boycotted trips to protest the ongoing bus dispatching system being implemented in the terminal.
They said they wait for 4 to 12 hours in queue before they can pick up passengers.
Tolentino acknowledged the groups’ right to peaceful assembly but he warned them of possible suspension of their franchises if more problems arise as a result of their actions.
He also believed that those who staged protest are buses without franchises.
“I think some of the organizers are those involved in colorum operations.”
Tolentino said the MMDA and the LTFRB will be firm in the new bus system implemented earlier this month despite many critics. He said going back to the old scheme will revert to the “chaotic situation”.
According to Tolentino, they managed to reduce the number of buses in EDSA by about 1,000 since opening the Southwest Integrated terminal.
“This is about discipline,” he said. “We have to have discipline in the transport system.”
MORE: Southwest Bus Terminal officials say operations improving
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