The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Ayala Land Inc. on Tuesday signed the concession contract for a bus hub public private partnership project in Taguig, Metro Manila.

The development paves the way for the start of the construction of the PPP project, formally known as the Integrated Transport System-South, in September this year, the DOTC said in a statement. It earlier said the project would be completed by 2018.

The ITS-South, one of three that will be built around Metro Manila, will be a hub where provincial buses would disembark passengers for transfer to other in-city modes of transport such as elevated railways, city buses and UV Express vans. The projects are aimed at easing road congestion within Metro Manila.

With the South ITS connecting different modes of transportation and services, we can guarantee the public more efficient and seamless transfers. It will also improve traffic flow and reduce congestion in Metro Manila, as it will serve as a transfer point for provincial buses entering the metropolis,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said in the statement.

The South ITS is one of the intermodal facilities that will be the end-point for more than 2,000 provincial buses currently entering Metro Manila daily, effectively decongesting main thoroughfares.

It will also allow convenient in-city public transport transfers, as railway lines, city buses, taxis and other public utility vehicles servicing inner Metro Manila will be made available, the DOTC said.

Ayala Land was awarded the project in November 2015 after the developer, a subsidiary of conglomerate Ayala Corp., emerged the best bidder for the P4-billion deal.

In its bid, Ayala Land offered to charge the government only P277.89 million yearly for developing the project while Filinvest Land Inc., the only other bidder, asked for P1 billion a year.

The site of the ITS South Project is next to Arca South, where ALI is developing an integrated mixed-use estate.

ALI will be responsible for the design and construction of the new terminal, which will be put up on a 5.6-hectare parcel of land. This project will connect passengers traveling from neighboring provinces such as Laguna and Batangas to other modes of transport including buses, taxis and jeepneys, it said.

The private concessionaire will operate and maintain the terminal for 35 years.

ALI earlier estimated that up to 4,000 buses and 160,000 passengers will feed into ITS South from South Luzon Expressway a day.

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