Let’s be real, connectivity is a concept that is alien at least to those planning the infrastructure here in the metropolis. From the long walks and the tiring climbs to go to and from Line 2’s Recto Station to Line 1’s Doroteo Jose Station to forcing people going to and from Lines 2 and 3 in Cubao to navigate through shopping malls that are closed during morning rush hours, to the narrow walkways of Line 3’s Ayala Station, it seems comfort of the commuting public is the least in the minds of some planners and other vested interests.
Fortunately, lessons have been learned as new infrastructure bears promise of better connectivity that benefits the commuting public the most. One of those new infrastructures is the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange or the PITX.
The idea for a transport terminal in this part of the metropolis originated in 2012 when plans were made to build three integrated transport terminals in the metropolis to provide a more organized and better connected public transport system between Metro Manila and nearby areas, thus helping decongest the inner metropolitan thoroughfares like EDSA. As such, these three terminals were to be placed in Valenzuela to serve the North Luzon connection, Taguig for Southeast Luzon (Laguna and eastern Batangas), and Parañaque for Southwest Luzon (Cavite and western Batangas).
Of the three terminals, the Parañaque site is the one that was not only opened first but, to date, the only one that is currently in operation as the other two have yet to be finished. In fact, the Southwest terminal began operations already by 2013 with the opening of the interim Southwest Integrated Bus Terminal at the site of the Uniwide Coastal Mall near the present PITX.
Speaking of which, work would begin on a more permanent structure on 2017, a four-level podium to serve as the terminal and four office buildings at five floors each above it, designed by architectural firm Asya Design with Megawide winning the contract to manage the facility. Work was pretty much swift and the terminal, now known as PITX, would be formally opened on November 5, 2018.
Inside the PITX
The PITX is envisioned to be a modern transport hub that offers amenities and services reminiscent that of an airport. Thus, many bus companies there utilize its ticketing facilities instead of relying on their conductors as other bus companies traditionally do. There is also an information screen that gives commuters the time of departure of the buses there.
Apart from the transport and office facilities, one can also find a host of retail and dining spaces in the facility, much varied than one might realize. Of course given its function more as a stopover than a fully integrated transport and commercial facility, the space found in these stalls are limited in area. Some government offices also have field offices there as well.
Present and future plans
While PITX has been in operation since 2018, it would be this year when the COVID-19 pandemic found the facility utilized to a much greater capacity, as it triggered a realignment of public transportation that found bus routes between Metro Manila and Cavite/western Batangas, the bus routes plying EDSA, as well as jeepney and bus routes plying the southwest part of the metropolis to utilize PITX as the terminal station. This has made the PITX teeming with more activity, which is a both good and bad, considering the current pandemic to be mindful of. It also doesn’t help that the current floor plan is not as spacious as this roamer expects, but it’s at least tolerable.
Fortunately, there are plans to improve on the PITX. in fact, there is a plan to expand the facility further with additional terminal and office space via a southern extension. There is also the promised connectivity with the Line 1 Cavite extension which is being constructed at this time of writing. In fact, there will be a station near PITX, the Asiaworld Station, which will directly connect to the former. One can only hope that this connectivity will be better in terms of mobility and access.
Acknowledgements as well to Skyscrapercity, Metro Manila Development Authority, KMC Savills, Wandera, and Wikipedia