Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) operations manager Jonathan Tumulak announced on Tuesday that security preparations are all set for the observance of “All Souls’ Day” and “All Saints’ Day” on Nov. 1 and 2, with an expected influx of passengers to reach more than 300,000.
Tumulak explained that in the previous years, around 266,000 passengers converge at the terminal heading to different destinations in the south to spend holidays in their hometowns.
Tumulak said that with the newly opened routes for Dumaguete–Tagbilaran, the number of travelers is expected to spike to 300,000.
“There are also buses that serve passengers direct from the airport going to the South Bus Terminal,” he said. Aside from the Dumaguete-Tagbilaran route, there are also bus trips bound for Zamboanga City, he added.
For safety reasons, Tumulak said that he will deploy 24-hour security personnel within the terminal premises along with some forces from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
For passengers who will get inside the terminal starting 10 in the evening and beyond, Tumulak said that they will be asked to record their names on a logbook. This is a form of deterrent against those people who have no official business inside the terminal, said Tumulak.
Standard security procedures, like checking of baggages will stay, while closed circuit television cameras will be set up in strategic locations inside the terminal, he said.
Starting Oct. 31, bus trips are expected to lessen. This prompted Tumulak, a former officer of the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), to urge local government units to prepare a standby vehicle for their stranded constituents.
There are 300 units of buses that regularly transport passengers from the CSBT, including Ceres and mini-buses. However, 17 of these units are no longer plying the southern route, Tumulak said.
“Expected na on Oct. 31, mogamay ang mga bus na mobiyahe. Mao na nga mohangyo ko sa mga LGUs na kun puede naa moy standby na sakyanan para sa ma stranded na pasahero,” Tumulak said.
To avoid those people who will take advantage of the free ride, Tumulak suggested that vehicles of LGUs will be prohibited from picking up passengers for other towns. He also suggested that vehicles will prioritize persons with disabilities (PWD), pregnant, children and senior citizens.
“For example, from the terminal, the Santander vehicle will not stop in any other towns but will deliver the passengers directly to Santander,” Tumulak said.
Tumulak also asked representatives from LGUs to use government-owned vehicles as back-up transport. He assured LGUs that the CSBT management will take care of the vehicle’s standby area, including the driver’s provision.
As of Wednesday, Oct. 17, there are more than 10 LGUs who committed to prepare standby Suroy-suroy buses starting Oct. 31 at the V.Rama area for stranded passengers. These LGUs are San Fernando, Sibonga, Naga, Carcar, Alegria, Boljoon, Barili, Oslob, Boljoon, Santander and Ginatilan.
During the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16, Tumulak gathered transport groups, operators, including heads and representatives from the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7, Cebu City Traffic Office (CCTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
LTO operations officer Marivic Causin said that starting this Monday, Oct. 22, they will deploy personnel at the terminal to inspect the road safety and worthiness of buses, including mini buses. She said the inspection will last until Nov. 1.
LTO personnel, Causin said, will bring their checklist and will provide duplicate copies to drivers who are found to have violated the agency’s regulations.
Causin explained that the LTO 7 will start its operations early to give transport operators some time to correct the discrepancies in their road worthiness of their vehicles.
Julie Flores, president of the Cebu Provincial Bus Operators (CPBO), asked Causin to allow bus drivers an excess capacity of 10 passengers so as to maximize the trip on Nov. 1 and 2.
This way, Flores said that more passengers will be transported to its destination for the long holiday break. This could also translate to additional profit for operators, Flores said.
Causin, however, said she will refer the matter to its head office.
Moreover, CCTO Chief Francisco ‘Isko’ Ouano urged mini-bus operators to remind its drivers to refrain from racing along national highways especially at the South Road Properties (SRP) to avoid figuring in accidents.