MMDA starts roll-out of biometrics-based bus dispatch system

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it will start the implementation on Thursday, Jan. 31, of the Bus Management and Dispatch System (BMDS), the first bus reduction program in the country that utilizes biometrics or finger-scanning to identify and monitor bus drivers.

The program will be pilot-tested at the bus dispatch terminal of the MMDA at Fairview, Quezon City. Twelve more satellite stations will be established all over Metro Manila later this year.

“Our aim is to instill discipline among PUB drivers and make them aware that we at the MMDA, together with other agencies, are capable of monitoring them, especially their driving behavior,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said, noting the spate of fatal road accidents last year involving PUBs (public utility buses).

BMDS is a much improved system similar to the Organized Bus Route where PUBs are dispatched from four MMDA terminals, partnered with the private sector, based on passenger demand and current traffic situation in a given day.

But under BMDS, PUB drivers are now required to finger-scan at the dispatch terminals before being allowed to ply their routes. The MMDA has created a PUB Driver’s Databank which contained the personal information of each registered driver, the bus company where he is employed, and even the number of his unsettled traffic violations.

A total of 3,471 city buses operated by 105 firms have registered in the database, which is also linked with other agencies such as LTO, LTFRB, and National Bureau of Investigation.

Tolentino said only drivers with less than three pending traffic violations will be dispatched from the terminal; those with more than three should settle their traffic violation tickets first before being allowed to ply their routes.

At each BMDS terminal, PUBs will be fielded every 10 minutes during peak hours and 15 minutes during non-peak hours. The system is expected to cut the excess number of city buses in operation and rid Metro Manila of colorum buses.

At present, MMDA has four major dispatch terminals — South Station in Alabang and Coastal Mall in Paranaque in the South and Malabon and Robinson’s Fairview in the North.

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