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PITX messes up transport down south

It promised to be a godsend, but in reality the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange has so far failed the thousands of southbound commuters who are clamoring for better management of the hub.

Located in Parañaque City and accessible via the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard or the Coastal Road, the PITX was designed to be a hub “that consolidates both provincial transports and metro-bound public vehicles into one area in the south,” as Aurick Go wrote in autoindustriya.com October last year.

“Specifically,” he said, “it will become a link for transportation heading towards Cavite and Batangas, as well as [act] as a southern hub for public transport vehicles that ply the metro. That said, the PITX is also expected to reduce the [number] of buses plying Taft Avenue and Pasay-EDSA.”

PITX was inaugurated on Nov. 5 last year by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

 On Nov. 7, the Philippine Information Agency’s Jerome Carlo R. Paunan called PITX the “first ‘world-class’ intermodal landport in the country,” that would make commuting “more comfortable for the riding public” by offering “a safer, state-of-the-art, and convenient terminal experience.” PITX’s “multi-modal transport selection” includes “jeepney, bus, taxi, UV Express, point-to-point, and soon, light rail transit” options.

Paunan added that the hub is to be serviced by “all city buses, UV express service, and jeepneys whose endpoints are Baclaran and the Mall of Asia.” These are ordered by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to “extend and facilitate the transfer of passengers to PITX,” through Memorandum Circular 2018-20 dated Sept. 13, 2018.

Also in the MC: “All provincial public utility buses, UV Express service, and public utility jeepneys originating from provinces southwest of Metro Manila entering via Coastal Road and Manila Cavite Expressway shall end their routes at the [PITX] in Coastal Road Parañaque from the date PITX is fully operational.”

At capacity, the hub is expected to serve up to 200,000 passengers daily.

However, PITX is not working as it should. Commuters complain that there are few, if any, vehicles waiting for them there and it takes hours of waiting to get a ride.

Historian and author Jose Victor Z. Torres, who lives in Imus and teaches at a university in Manila, frequently posts social media updates with photos showing PITX swamped with hundreds of frustrated passengers waiting for a ride.

Describing the situation on 7:00 p.m. of Jan. 15, he said people had been waiting almost two hours for rides to Cavite. They would wait three or four hours more before being able to ride, arriving home at 10:00 or 11:00 at night, many after working an eight-hour day.

Vans would arrive to serve passengers, but they would be nabbed by the LTO (Land Transportation Office) “dahil ito ay mga kolorum,” said Dr. Torres. “Pero wala naman ipinapalit na sasakyan para makauwi ang mga pasahero. Basta huli lang ng huli.”

Dr. Torres pointed out that LTO and LTFRB are obliging passengers to use PITX but without guaranteeing that any vehicles would actually be there. He called upon transportation authorities and Cavite Governor Atty. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla to take action.

Writer Beverly Wico Siy, a Bacoor resident, has documented on video her PITX experience. Last December, she said, “Nagpunta ako doon para sumakay. Dinala kami doon ng bagong dyip na ‘Dyipko’ ang name from Baclaran. Pagdating doon, [walang] bus. Pinaghintay kami nang [isang] oras, walang dumating na bus. Ibinalik kami sa Baclaran. We were there [at PITX] 11 p.m. Nasa Baclaran kami past 12 midnight.”    

These are just some of the stories that angry commuters have been sharing on social media. The PITX is well-conceived and, by the looks of it, well-constructed, but it seems that few passenger vehicles are complying with LTFRB’s MC 2018-20.

Why the presence there of colorum vehicles instead of the legitimate passenger vehicle companies? Are the latter aware of the MC? If so, why are they avoiding PITX?

Cavite and other points south are now the bedroom communities of the metro, because  housing rental and purchase prices well beyond the reach of the majority of commuters who work in urban areas like Makati and Manila. It’s difficult enough to put in a full day’s work without having to cope with a stressful commute.

A fix must be found for the PITX mess, and fast. Otherwise, it will continue being the white elephant it is today, a waste of resources and a monument to failed planning.

FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO

Topics: Jenny Ortuoste , Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange , PITX
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