Cheers, jeers greet bus schemeBy Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Day one of the bus segregation scheme implemented by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority drew both cheers and jeers on Tuesday. While some agreed that it helped ease traffic flow on Edsa, others saw it as another inconvenience for commuters.
The scheme designates specific stops for buses to prevent bottlenecks and long queues. Buses marked “A” can load or unload passengers at red bays, while “B” buses can stop only at blue bays.
A smaller number of buses— about 20 percent of the 3,100 buses plying Edsa—are marked “C” and can use all stops.
“There is less congestion on Edsa now because there is greater distance between buses. Before this scheme, all the buses jostling for passengers would form a long line stretching from the Guadalupe stop to Estrella stop, which is about 800 meters to one kilometer long,” said MMDA traffic constable Sonny Guiam Sr.
Feedback posted on the MMDA Facebook page made similar positive observations.
Bryan C. Bulusan wrote in Filipino: “Good job, MMDA! Traffic flow was not that bad on Edsa earlier today. I hope this will continue and not just be temporary (ningas kugon). I hope bus drivers and commuters follow it. This is for our own benefit.”
But another online reaction, from Patrick Crisostomo, cited a drawback: “Honestly, this system is bad for commuters. Imagine if, in the morning, the bus you took stopped 500 meters away from where you were supposed to get off? You will have to walk. How about the handicapped, the disabled, the elderly and pregnant women?”
Guiam conceded that some commuters found themselves in such situations because they boarded the wrong bus. “They complained about the distance they have to walk, but they were not really angry. I just advised them to take the C buses.”
“I just hope commuters would keep themselves informed from now on,” he said.
In an Inquirer interview, Ahara Tropel, a taxi driver who takes the bus from Cubao to Mantrade, noted that Edsa traffic got “a bit better.”
I think it will work. Just give it time. In the coming days we will get used to it,” he said.
Emily Panganiban, an office worker who takes the bus from GMA-Timog to a stop near the MMDA office, was apparently one of the thousands of commuters who were still caught unaware despite the information campaign on the scheme.
She said she “got lost going to work” after unknowingly taking a bus that was not allowed to unload passengers on Shaw Boulevard, her usual stop. “It will be a big hassle for passengers during rush hours.”
Bus inspector Elena Romero said she encountered a number of angry passengers who missed their stops. “There were loud protests, but we had no choice but to comply,” she said. With a report from Noli A. Ermitanio