MMDA relaxes rules for buses plying EdsaBy Nathaniel R. Melican
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – That didn’t take long.
After insisting that all city and provincial route buses stick to the yellow lanes exclusively for their use along Edsa backfired and caused too much traffic, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has relented and eased some of its road rules for buses plying the historical highway.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino on Thursday issued a memorandum circular outlining changes to the current yellow lane only policy for buses on Edsa, which they expect to have a significant impact immediately.
Under Memorandum Circular 8, Series of 2012, which took effect immediately Thursday afternoon, the MMDA allowed both provincial and city buses to pass through the Ortigas flyover if they are going northbound, aside from the Magallanes Interchange, which they are allowed to use whether they are going northbound or southbound.
However, all provincial and city buses are still not allowed to use tunnels and underpasses along Edsa.
The memorandum circular was issued after the MMDA’s consultation with some 50 bus operators on Wednesday, where they gave feedback and suggestions to the agency’s strict yellow lane policy, which caused heavy traffic on Edsa on Monday.
Provincial buses have also been allowed to travel on the third lane of EDSA immediately after the two yellow lanes, and they were also given the green light to traverse all flyovers along the 24-kilometer stretch of the highway.
On the other hand, city buses will still have to stick with yellow lanes along EDSA, but they can use the Ortigas flyover when going northbound.
The memorandum circular also reiterated previous policies, such as that both city and provincial buses should only load and unload passengers in their respective designated terminals and bus stops along the highway.
Buses should also stack themselves snugly while inside the loading and unloading bays, and should follow the Bus A/Bus B systems in loading stations. It also clarified that city buses can load and unload in these stations for only 25 seconds.
The MMDA also revived the strict implementation of its closed-door policy for buses, which means that buses, both city and provincial, must keep their doors closed except when inside loading and unloading stations.
Tolentino, citing his power to unilaterally impose changes in fines for various offenses, increased selected fines under this ordinance, such as failure to keep doors closed in between designated stops, which would cost P1,000.
Under the circular, bus drivers would have to pay the fine if the bus has only one door. If it has two doors, drivers will pay if the front door is open, while conductors will pay the fine if the back door is open. And if bus drivers claim their door is defective, operators will shoulder the P1,000 fine.
Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations, expressed hope that the new rules will have an immediate effect over traffic in EDSA.
“We expect that the enforcers will really go after violators of this memorandum circular, especially on the closed-door policy. They and their immediate supervisors will face sanctions if found not implementing any of these provisions,” he said.
Carlos said the MMDA does not expect backlash from the operators, as they were properly consulted about the regulations on Wednesday.