Monday, May 28, 2012

DOTC eyes sites for transport hubs

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is eyeing a lot behind the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City and part of the reclaimed land near the Uniwide Mall in Parañaque City as the sites of the north and south intermodal transport terminals (ITT), an official said yesterday. The terminals are where provincial buses can unload their passengers rather than go through Metro Manila’s roads in order to lessen traffic congestion in the metropolis. DOTC Secretary Manuel Roxas II said they were already in talks with the Ayala Land-National Housing Authority (NHA) joint venture group for the Trinoma lot and the Philippine Reclamation Authority for the south ITT along Coastal Road. Another ITT at the Food Terminal, Inc. complex was also in the works, Roxas said, noting that the Coastal Road and FTI hubs are transactions between government agencies. Only the Trinoma Mall lot will involve a private entity. “We have talked to the Ayalas a number of times and also with the NHA which has a joint venture with the Ayalas for the property behind Trinoma,” Roxas said. He said the Trinoma lot was deemed the best location for the north ITT since it is the point where the EDSA-bound Metro Rail Transit (MRT), the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 7 to be built by San Miguel Corp., and the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road will all converge. Roxas said the DOTC is already eyeing an alternative to the Trinoma lot if talks with the Ayala-NHA group do not prosper. He said they can go to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, across North Avenue. With the establishment of the ITTs, Roxas said they expect the number of provincial buses going through Metro Manila by around 8,000 units. In the first week of March, Malacañang issued Executive Order 67, which calls for the establishment of ITTs outside Metro Manila, removing the need for provincial buses to get into the metropolis and adding to the daily congestion in major thoroughfares, especially EDSA. The integrated transport system (ITS) project, ordered undertaken by EO 67, involves the setup of bus terminals near the North and South Luzon Expressways for provincial buses. Citing figures from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Roxas said a total of 13,067 buses ply Metro Manila roads. He said nearly 60 percent of them are provincial buses that traverse Metro Manila. Only 5,331 are city buses, 3,718 of which ply EDSA. Apart from the reduced volume of vehicles, Roxas said the ITTs will make commuting to the provinces more convenient because the terminals will be linked to other available mass transport systems such as the LRT, MRT and Philippine National Railways. - By Rainier Allan Ronda