MANILA (UPDATE) - Provincial buses that will load and unload passengers along EDSA and major roads in the metropolis will be fined at least P500 starting Monday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said.
Under an existing rule, buses should only pick up and drop off passengers at their respective terminals, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said in a statement.
"It is about time we enforce discipline to restore order on the roads," he said.
Aside from a fine of P500 for illegal loading and unloading, violators may also face penalties of P150 for disregarding traffic signs, P1,000 for road obstruction, and P1,000 for snubbing the closed door policy, said MMDA Special Operations Group head Bong Nebrija.
Authorities will also implement a "voluntary" dry run for a provincial bus ban, in which authorities hope to close all 47 provincial bus terminals in EDSA by June, MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago said.
Under the ban, bus operators will be required to drop off passengers at government-constructed terminals like those in Parañaque, Valenzuela City and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where they could transfer to city vehicles.
"We are now requiring bus operators to at least allow one of their units, just one, to pass through those interim terminals," Pialago told ANC.
"We will just monitor how many of them complied and participated in the dry run," she added.
Operators will obey the traffic scheme to show that provincial buses are not to blame for the crippling EDSA traffic because their total number has not increased since 1995, said transport leader Alex Yague.
The ban will be a "big inconvenience" to passengers, who will have to spend additional fare and time for transferring to city PUVs, said the executive director of the Provincial Bus Operations Association of the Philippines.