By Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren
The country’s first inter-modal transport terminal being constructed in Parañaque City which is envisioned to decongest EDSA by removing 1,000 passenger buses off the road is now close to 50 percent complete, traffic and transportation officials reported.
The Southwest Integrated Terminal Exchange in Parañaque City, situated along Coastal Road in Parañaque City, is expected to provide by April seamless inter-connectivity of the different modes of transportation — rail networks, provincial and city operating buses, Asian utility Express vehicles, and jeepneys from the neighboring provinces south of Metro Manila.
The terminal, now close to 50 percent complete, is among the five big ticket infrastructure projects that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will inaugurate next year.
Transportation Undersecretary for roads and infrastructure Tim Orbos noted that traffic flow along Edsa is expected to improve once the country’s first intermodal transport terminal is fully operational.
“At least 1000 buses will be taken out of EDSA daily for the comfort and safety of our Cavite and Batangas brothers going to Metro Manila and greatly help decongest Metro Manila traffic,” said Orbos.
Aside from decongesting Edsa, Orbos said the terminal also is also designed to make commuting more convenient for those living in the southern part of the metropolis.
For his part, MMDA chairman Danilo Lim, said provincial PUVs will only be allowed to load and unload in SWITX, avoiding Edsa.
“Buses entering the capital will load and unload passengers in this inter-modal facility where commuters can transfer from one transport mode to another with cabs and other public utility vehicles available,” said Lim.
Lim added that commuters will have access to trains when the Light Rail Transit Line One Extension project is completed.
“A station of the LRT extension project will be constructed near the SWITX,” said Lim.
With the DOTr’s Route Rationalization Plan that will be soon implemented, reorganization of routes will be a priority. This means provincial PUVs will only be allowed to load and unload in SWITX, avoiding EDSA altogether.
As planned, the SWITX will resemble an airport terminal with four-level platforms. It will have passenger terminal buildings, embarkation and disembarkation bays, staging bays, ticketing and baggage handling facilities and park-ride facilities.
Catching a bus is also made easier with the On-line Bus Ticketing System (OBTS), an intuitive online and on-site booking and ticketing system. Departure schedules will also be displayed on large screens. Buses will likewise be equipped with Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) tag for efficient managing, tracking, and monitoring inside the terminal premises.
Vehicles and passengers’ queuing, loading, and unloading will all be systematized. The terminal will also be equipped with WiFi and charging points.
There will be air-conditioned lounges and waiting areas for passengers, as well as retail stores and food centers. Drivers will also have their own room.
CCTVs and baggage scanners will be installed and security personnel will be stationed 24/7 to ensure safety of passengers.
In order to make the terminal more vibrant, commercial spaces and offices will be occupying the premises. This will also ensure a steady flow of passengers that will be using the new terminal.