MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) expects the Southwest Integrated Transport Exchange (SWITEx) being built in Paranaque City to further ease traffic congestion along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and Roxas Boulevard.

The facility, the Public-Private Partnership Center said, would connect passengers coming from the Cavite side or south of Metro Manila to other transport systems, such as the future LRT Line 1 South Extension, city buses, taxis, and other public utility vehicles serving inner Metro Manila.

The project will include passenger terminal buildings, arrival and departure bays, public information systems, ticketing and baggage handling facilities, and park-ride facilities.

The terminal is aimed at promoting easier access to transportation for commuters from Las Pinas, Paranaque, and Muntinlupa in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon.

“Once this terminal becomes operational, more than a thousand buses will decongest EDSA and Roxas Boulevard, and this improvement shall benefit more than 200,000 daily commuters,” DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport Thomas “Tim” Orbos said in his speech during the progress briefing and inspection of the SWITex Project Wednesday.

The facility also aims to improve the traffic situation in the Baclaran area, as well as provide safety and convenience to commuters, who have to transfer from one vehicle to another.

“We need to push the interconnection within and along routes, and the intermodality of UV Expresses, PUJs, and city provincial buses, specifically those coming from Mindoro and Batangas, and the LRT-1, which will further expand to Cavite,” Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III said.

SWITEx will host four Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) offices, food centers, park-and-ride zones, baggage handling services, and air-conditioned waiting areas, and an online bus ticketing system.

The transportation facility will likewise display ride departure schedules on large screens, WiFi and charging ports, and retiring rooms for drivers similar to international airports. Buses will be equipped with Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) tag for management and monitoring within the premises of the terminal.

SWITEx will be located in a four-hectare-plus lot along Coastal Road in Paranaque City.

The DOTr and its private contractor, Megawide Corporation’s infrastructure subsidiary MWM Terminals Inc., are eyeing for the operation of the PHP3-billion SWITEx in April 2018.

The intermodal transport terminal, whose construction started August this year, is now 40-percent completed. It is one of the five flagship infrastructure projects of the DOTr set for inauguration next year.

The department has launched a public chat group on Viber, called “BuildBuildBuild PH,” to provide information on the development of its on-going infrastructure projects and announcements of its upcoming projects.

By Paolo Cruz, Philippine News Agency