Edsa bus ban a ‘necessary sacrifice’
MANILA, Philippines — Inconveniences that may be suffered by commuters under a controversial plan to ban provincial buses on Edsa are a necessary “sacrifice” for the future, a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) official said on Monday under tough grilling by lawmakers.
“Yes, there will be a lot of inconveniences, and it will involve plenty of sacrifice for this generation but it will benefit the future generation,” said Edison Nebrija, head of MMDA’s Edsa Special Traffic and Transport Zone.
“Give this a chance because this is for you,” Nebrija told the House transportation panel during a public hearing on the new policy that would effectively prohibit buses from northern and southern provinces from traversing the 23.8-kilometer road.
Instead, provincial buses would be compelled to drop off passengers at terminals either in Valenzuela City for northern routes or in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, and Parañaque City for the southern ones.
A public outcry forced the suspension of the dry run of the new policy on May 6, although MMDA officials were hoping for its resumption by June.
Logic and science
During the hearing, Nebrija fielded questions from House members who sought the logic and science behind MMDA Resolution No. 19-002, which would remove 47 provincial bus terminals operating along Edsa.
The resolution was approved in March by the Metro Manila Council, the MMDA’s policy-making body composed of the 17 Metro mayors.
Nebrija said the presence of 47 terminals on the main artery of the metropolis was a huge generator of traffic, describing them as “a magnet that attracts all sorts of activities,” such as taxi queues and passengers waiting for rides on sidewalks.
Under grilling by Ako Bicol Rep. Alfred Garbin Jr., he admitted that provincial buses comprised only five percent of traffic volume on Edsa.
But Nebrija argued that Edsa was not designed to accommodate such a big number of bus terminals.
Garbin said the ban would not solve the traffic problem but only redirect congestion to other places.
“You just transfer the traffic and the confusion elsewhere and, at the end of the day, it still ends up [on] Edsa,” he added.
A 25-year-old college instructor who commutes weekly from Baler, Aurora, to Sampaloc, Manila, to attend her postgraduate classes, said the ban would make her eight-hour journey a “big hassle.”
Raiza Kate Ico told the Inquirer that instead of getting off on Edsa, she would have to alight at the Valenzuela bus hub, and catch another ride or two to get to Centro Escolar University in Manila.
“It’s honestly a waste of time and energy for me,” she said. —With a report from Nikka Valenzuela
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