Eviction of provincial buses on EDSA: Counting commuters’ concerns

July 26, 2019 - 4:20 PM
The STAR-Russel Palma
Buses plying along EDSA (The STAR/Russel Palma)

The provincial bus ban policy that was supposed to ease the traffic congestion along EDSA will push through with its dry run in August despite the inconvenience it would cause commuters from the provinces.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, known as the MMDA, will start enforcing the policy that amends routes of provincial buses.

Public buses from the north with terminals along EDSA will have to end their routes in Valenzuela while those from the south with terminals in Cubao have to end in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Moreover, those in the south with terminals in Pasay will have to end at the new Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange.

Officials held a dry run of this new scheme last April. It turned out unsuccessful as only a few bus drivers participated in it.

Here’s what people are saying about the proposed provincial bus ban on EDSA:

Commuters and bus operators decried on social media how the policy is economically unsustainable and injurious to rural people without an evident reduction in traffic.

Additional travel time and fare

Some stressed on the inconvenience of longer travel time and added costs on a regular basis.

One Facebook user said that if the original travel time already took several hours, how much longer will it take once MMDA restricts the buses to interim terminals.

provincial bus ban_time
(Screenshot by Interaksyon)

Some commuters may resort to other, more expensive means of transportation, another user commented, such as P2P buses and taxis.

provincial bus ban_fare
(Screenshot by Interaksyon)

The petition from members of Ako Bicol party-list likewise cited these issues as reasons for a halt order on the implementation of the provincial bus ban.

“It cannot be denied that the effect of implementation of the regulation is very injurious to poor rural people in terms of additional inconvenience, additional fare, additional time to destination and double loading,” part of the petition read.

Inconvenience to families, and those with large bags

Bringing children and carrying large bags to the metropolis will be more challenging and even unsafe for commuters.

Facebook user Calvin De Leon pointed this out on his lengthy rant.

“MMDA Chairman, nasubukan mo na bang bumiyahe mula probinsya papuntang Cubao na may dalang maleta, mga maliliit na bata, habang akay ang lolo at lola mo samahan mo pa ng mga may kapansanan na kaanak mo? Naisip niyo kaya yan?” De Leon said.

Inconsiderate of persons with disability and the elderly

Moreover, some Filipinos also noted on how risky this would be to persons with disabilities and the elderly.

They criticized the officials, specifically the transport agency, for not considering PWDs and older people in crafting the policy.

provincial bus ban_PWD
(Screenshot by Interaksyon)
provincial bus ban_elderly
(Screenshot by Interaksyon)

Going beyond the mandate

Aside from Ako Bicol party-list, Rep. Joey Salceda of Albay also filed a petition at the Supreme Court last May to scrap the ban on provincial buses.

Salceda argued that the MMDA is already going beyond its mandate of performing administrative functions as stated in Republic Act 7924, the act that established it.

Moreover, Salceda also questioned its motive of evicting 6,000 provincial buses when the national government is expected to grant permits to nearly 20,000 private vehicles.

According to data back in 2017, vehicles that pass through EDSA cause 13.6% of the average daily traffic in Metro Manila.

Of these, cars take up the most space with 247,527 units compared to only 12,283 buses plying through there.