MMDA’s new policies worsened traffic along EDSA, and commuters have evidence

August 8, 2019 - 5:34 PM
bus ban test run along EDSA
The traffic situation on EDSA during the implementation of MMDA's new schemes (The STAR/Miguel de Guzman)

The strict implementation of the yellow lane policy along EDSA to supposedly ease traffic congestion made the situation worse based on commuters’ posts on social media.

The yellow bus lane policy restricts the first and second lanes of EDSA to city buses only. Provincial buses and private cars are therefore not allowed to drive there.

However, posts and video clips being circulated online showed that buses got congested within this area instead. Some commuters could also be seen walking through the traffic.

Twitter user Junzen Lavapie shared that the bus he rode was stuck in traffic for 20 minutes while private vehicles passed by freely at the other lanes.

Facebook user Karl Mercado, meanwhile, showed a photo of the yellow lane packed with non-moving buses while the other side was car-free.

“Komyuter lang kasi ako eh. Probinsyano lang kasi ako eh. I don’t deserve equal treatment,” Mercado said.

Bes, anong oras na kaya ako makakauwi?Komyuter lang kasi ako eh. Probinsyano lang kasi ako eh.I don't deserve equal treatment.Yellow Lane Policy pa more.#commutersnaman

Posted by Karl Mercado on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

This traffic scheme was also enforced last March and provided some interesting results.

MMDA Traffic Chief Edison Bong Nebrija apprehended more than 10,000 motorists that time, and 70% of them were private motorists.

Several studies have already shown that majority of the vehicles that pass by EDSA are private vehicles.

In 2017, records showed that 247,527 private vehicles take up the most space of the highway while only 12,283 buses, including provincial ones, ply there.

Reasons for the failed policies

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago told reporters that both the provincial bus ban and the yellow lane system failed.

The agency cited several reasons for this. However, there’s no letup so far on its goal to reduce the number of public buses on EDSA regardless of the results.

“That’s why we want to reduce the number of buses on EDSA by 50%,” Nebrija said, referring to provincial buses.

Confusion on the ground

Nebrija said provincial buses should have been allowed on the third lane.

However, some enforcers prevented them from going to the tunnels and flyovers and instead directed them to use the yellow lane. Some private vehicles also erred in driving in this area.

This inadvertently caused the traffic buildup particularly on the intersections along the thoroughfare.

“It was hard because they literally occupied the whole lanes of EDSA and of course, in doing so, in funneling them back to the yellow lane, there are private vehicles who got stuck in the process,” Nebrija said on CNN Philippines’ “The Source.”

Despite the evident negative outcome, Pialago insisted that this traffic rule shouldn’t be blamed for what happened.

“Ang daming factors. Umulan today, ayun hanggang ngayon po umaambon. Alam naman po natin kapag nakakaranas tayo ng ulan, medyo bumabagal ang takbo ng trapiko,” she said.

Buses snub dry run

Based on this new measure, public buses from the north with terminals along EDSA will have to end their routes in Valenzuela. The terminals of these buses will also be removed.

Meanwhile, those in the south with terminals in Pasay will have to end at the new Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange while those with terminals in Cubao will have to end in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Only 31 of the 31,000 provincial buses joined the dry run, according to MMDA.

A regional trial court in Quezon City previously ordered to stop the implementation of this system due to the staunch opposition from commuters, bus operators and some lawmakers.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia cited this injunction as the reason why most operators, particularly from the north, did not partake in the activity.

“I’m holding on to our meeting last week when there was still no injunction. The operators said yes when asked if they would participate. Of course I would not have any problem with that. The public’s welfare is most important here,” Garcia said.