Tourist buses to help ferry CSBT passengers

(SunStar file photo)

INSTEAD of local government units, it will be operators of tourist bus lines that will be fielding vehicular augmentation to the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) for the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

The CSBT management decided to drop its initial plan to tap local government units (LGUs) in southern Cebu after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia met with bus line operators, and officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Tuesday night, Oct. 29, 2019.

“I decided against that. You see, we will tap them so that we can use their vehicles. But they will really need these buses because they also have their own constituents to ferry, perhaps to their local cemeteries. They need those buses, and they can only accommodate so much. I never considered that,” Garcia said Wednesday, Oct. 30, in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Tapping LGUs in southern Cebu for vehicular augmentation during peak seasons started during the administration of Hilario Davide III. Davide is now vice governor.

This time last year, the CSBT management tapped 11 LGUs that provided free rides to their constituents.

The LGUs that provided free rides were the cities of Carcar and Naga and the towns of Alegria, Oslob, Barili, Dumanjug, Ginatilan, Boljoon, San Fernando, Moalboal and Daanbantayan.

This year, it will be tourist bus lines that will help ferry the more than 50,000 passengers expected to pass through the terminal.

The rides won’t be free this time. Garcia said the same fares for air-conditioned buses would be applied to tourist bus lines.

If a passenger bound for San Fernando town aboard an air-conditioned public utility bus (PUB) pays P60, the same amount will be charged if the person takes the tourist bus.

“Our tourist bus operators, if they can get a special permit from the LTFRB just for these days, will help accommodate our passengers,” Garcia said.

The governor said they came up with the agreement to tap tourist bus operators since the close to 400 PUBs at CSBT can barely keep up with the volume of passengers even on a regular Friday night.

Nearly 400 PUBs go in and out of the terminal every day, but each bus can accommodate a maximum of only 60 passengers at a time.

Each bus makes an average of three rounds and might not be able to pick up the increased number of passengers fast enough, especially on holidays.

Garcia said tourist buses will not only help in ferrying passengers, but also cut down the time spent by passengers idly waiting for the next PUB to arrive.

“It will open more available seats for our passengers. For example, a bus bound for Dalaguete had already left, and it will take an hour or so before the next one comes. So that’s the time the tourist buses will start accommodating passengers. The more the passenger waits, the more clogged up the terminal gets,” she said.

In the meeting, SMB Tourist Transport committed to field 20 units, while Silverlines offered two of its buses.

Garcia said three other tourist bus lines will be checking their schedules to see if they also have available units.

As this developed, Garcia asked the 30 bus lines operating PUBs at CSBT to keep a ticket agent at all times as part of the implementation of the “No ticket, No entry” policy.

“We will continue with the no ticket, no entry into the passenger area. If we continue the old system, especially during holidays, it will not only be passengers that will flock to the terminal. Pickpockets will also mill around since people are distracted by all the frenzy,” Garcia said.

The ticket booths are inside Entrance 2, right before the entryway to the waiting area, to ensure order and safety.

Aside from the ticketing policy, Garcia said the CSBT will maintain only one entry and one exit point each as part of its security plan.

Entrance 2 (beside the LTO office) will serve as the main entry point, while Entrance 1 (across 7 Eleven) will be the exit point.

“That was what we (with CSBT management) agreed upon, but I have to check if that is being implemented,” Garcia said.

The governor will conduct an ocular inspection at the terminal on Thursday, Oct. 31.

The Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO) is deploying personnel to the Cebu South Bus Terminal to help implement the Province’s “no ticket, no entry” policy and ensure that commuters going home for the two-day Undas holidays will get to the terminal safe and secure.

Police Lt. Col. Virgilio Bayon-on, CPPO spokesman, said CPPO Director Police Col. Roderick Mariano had instructed them to transfer the CSBT’s ticketing booth outside of the terminal so police can monitor those entering the facility. (With BBT of SuperBalita Cebu, JKV)


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