This time, MMDA offers ‘Edsa Express’By Miko Morelos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Now comes another proposal to ease the daily traffic jam on the country’s busiest highway.
In a meeting with bus operators Wednesday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino suggested the designation of another special lane to be called the “Edsa Express.”
This lane will be reserved for bus companies that would agree to merge and form leaner fleets and thus address the oversupply of buses plying the 24-km thoroughfare, he said.
“The dedicated lane could be an incentive for bus operators who would agree to merge their fleets,” Tolentino said. “Edsa Express is a possible solution to reduce the number of buses along Edsa that would not be detrimental to their businesses.”
The Edsa Express could be set up on one of the two lanes now making up the existing “yellow lane” for buses, he explained, adding that a similar scheme had been implemented in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Later in an interview, Tolentino said a number of operators with a combined fleet of 600 buses had welcomed his proposal for them to form mergers.
Many of their buses go half-empty for much of the day anyway, he noted. With more consortiums forming in the future, the volume of bus traffic on Edsa could significantly go down, he said.
At least 50 bus operators met with the MMDA chief Wednesday in Makati City to give their feedback on the revived yellow lane policy, which caused heavy congestion on Edsa on Monday.
Among their appeals was for the MMDA to allow buses to use “a third lane” or let provincial buses go outside the yellow lane during heavy traffic.
But Tolentino said arbitrarily changing the policy now would only cause more confusion. The yellow lanes were introduced in 1989 in a resolution approved by Metro Manila mayors.
Since last month, Tolentino has been pushing for the merger of small bus companies into consortiums to make them more viable and competitive against bigger operators while reducing the number of buses on Edsa.
According to him, about 12,000 city and provincial buses now ply Edsa daily and yet the yellow lanes, when conceived, were only intended for 1,600 buses.