Bus passengers expected to reach 8,000 on Wednesday in Holy Week exodus

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Over 6,000 passengers are expected to leave for the provinces Tuesday (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — Flocks of passengers are already clambering to visit provinces for the Holy Week holidays. However, authorities expect thousands more to crowd bus terminals in the next three days.

As of Tuesday, Araneta Bus Terminal management officials said they are expecting around 6,000 to 7,000 passengers to depart for the provinces. Most bus trips set for Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao are already fully-booked.

Authorities said they are expecting the number of passengers to peak to around 8,000 starting Wednesday until Friday.

"Asahan natin later this week din baka madagdagan pa ating mga pasahero, the most this coming Wednesday," Araneta Bus Terminal Manager Mon Legazpi said Monday.

[Translation: We're expecting later this week to have more passengers, the most (expected) this coming Wednesday.]

For those who have not yet purchased tickets, bus companies have advised passengers to come early in the morning or call ahead. Some bus companies are implementing a "No reservations" or a "First come, first serve" policy.

Those who will arrive later in the day would have to wait for available seats due to last-minute cancellations.

In the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), passengers complained of flight delays. Some said they waited for almost two hours before leaving the aircraft upon arrival.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Manuel Tamayo explained that one of the taxiways going to the airport's main runway has been closed for repairs, which may have contributed to the delays. He explained that they had to close the taxiway for renovations after observing holes on the road. The renovations could last for over two months, Tamayo said.

On the other hand, the Philippine Coast Guard said they are monitoring 53,740 passengers bound for the provinces on Tuesday. The brunt of the pack are headed to Central Visayas with 11,691 passengers.

Tightened security

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) conducted breath analyzer tests for conductors, bus drivers and for their alternate drivers to ensure they are sober and stable for travel 30 minutes before their trip.

MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago said the drivers and conductors who have tested positive will be escorted to Araneta Center Bus Terminal authorities and will be barred from traveling.

"Ang mahalaga sa amin, bago bumiyahe ng pagkalayo-layo is safe po 'yung mga pasahero," Pialago told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: What is important to us is the passengers' safety when traveling to distant locations.]

Pialago added that there were no bus drivers or conductors who tested positive since Monday.

In the NAIA, security personnel have intensified inspection, asking passengers to remove their footwear as an added security measure.