The Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) is all set for this year’s Holy Week preparations.
CSBT operations manager Jonathan ‘Joy’ Tumulak said they are ready for the over 450,000 passengers who are expected to flock the terminal starting today, April 15, to catch a ride to their respective hometowns to observe the Holy Week.
Tumulak said that starting today, passengers can expect tighter security rules to be implemented at the terminal. He also requested for augmentation force from the Cebu Provincial Police Office.
Earlier today, the Cebu Provincial Government, in partnership with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board, and the Philippine National Police conducted a surprise drug test to all drivers and conductors at the CSBT to ensure the safety of the commuting public.
Cebu Gov. Hilario P. Davide III is set to inspect the CSBT anytime this week to check on the safety and comfort of the passengers, as well as measures implemented by the terminal administration.
Tumulak said he asked the Cebu Provincial Government for additional personnel to help man the inspection lanes and assistance booths.
On Wednesday, April 17, CSBT will shift into a 24-hour operation to cater to those who are planning to go home after work or late at night.
Tumulak reminded passengers on the security procedures at the terminal, including the open-bag policy and the banning of guns, bladed weapons, butane containers, and firecrackers.
“May I remind all passengers to keep in mind our standing policy against prohibited items, this is for your own safety and to keep an orderly travel in this season,” Tumulak said.
Priority lanes for PWDs, pregnant women, senior citizens, passengers with infants up to one (1) year old are also in effect, Tumulak said.
He added that the management will also provide boarding priority for hospital patients and sickly passengers.
Portable toilets and railings, courtesy of the Cebu City Government, have been set up to provide additional comfort to passengers and for an orderly dispatch of commuters, Tumulak added.
During the observance of the Holy Wednesday last year, the CSBT recorded a total of 41,000 passengers, including those going to the neighboring districts in Negros and Dumaguete City.
Tumulak, who also serves as the Capitol’s traffic management officer, said that aside from preparing for the influx of travelers, they are also coordinating with local government units (LGUs) to send a standby vehicle intended for stranded passengers.
As of April 15, the towns of Oslob and Dumanjug and the cities of Carcar and Naga pledged to deploy their buses for their stranded constituents. These buses will be posted at the V.Rama parking area in Cebu City starting today until Friday.
The Capitol will also be providing two buses for free rides in case there are no more buses available, announced Tumulak during the special episode of the Kasayuran sa Kalambuan
Tumulak said that the CSBT will still enforce the same policy recommended by the National Transport Security Board last year, where LGU-sponsored vehicles are not allowed to pick-up passengers along the national highway to prevent ‘hail-and-ride’ stops that would cause injury and road accidents.
LGU vehicles are also mandated to prioritize the PWDs, pregnant women, senior citizens and those with an infant, Tumulak said.
Last year, passengers from Oslob town were allowed to board only on vehicles sent by their LGU.
In consideration of the election this coming May 13, Tumulak assured that the LGU-sponsored vehicles will not be utilized to draw voters.
“We thanked the Comelec for allowing the LGUs to send standby vehicles for stranded passengers. We will strictly inspect those vehicles for any election-related activity. We will ensure that this transport assistance to the Cebuanos will not be used to favor any candidate,” he said.