The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), the company behind the North Luzon Expressway, has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Provincial Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP). The members of the association, which includes JAC Liner Inc., Victory Liner, Solid North Transit and more, have signed an agreement to improve provincial bus safety on the NLEX.

According to MNTC, the main objective of the agreement is to “propagate a culture of road safety” and finding ways to make public transit safer. The agreement aims to “develop the image and reputation of Provincial Buses as a safe, comfortable and convenient mode of transportation.” The memorandum acts as a formality between the two agencies.

One notable policy the MNTC and PBOAP are enforcing is the bus modernization program. Under the program, buses that have reached 15 years since its date of production will be put out of service in the following year. The MNTC will also be stricter in enforcing speeding and reckless driving along with the roadworthiness of long-haul provincial buses. Defective lights, broken windshields, worn tires and bad brakes are major offenses. Every time a bus is pulled over for unfit road use, the plate number of the bus will be entered in the MNTC's database to make the bus company do the necessary repairs.

With the newly signed memorandum, the MNTC has set up a database for drivers with violations for the respective employers to check on their drivers. According to Alex Yague, president of PBOAP, the database also serves as a screening method for the bus operators in employing new drivers. PBOAB adds that this new agreement encourages consistent compliance to road rules and regulations. Renato Ticzon, vice president for marketing at MNTC, has urged operators to do more intensive driver training programs. Members of PBOAP have pledged a continuous driver education and training program.

With the signing of the agreement, PBOAP and MNTC believe that safer public transport will lead to a safer expressway.