Bayan Muna warns gov’t: Expect commuters’ wrath with Edsa bus ban
MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Bayan Muna has warned government to be ready to face angry commuters when the dry run of the provincial bus ban along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) starts on Monday.
According to Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite on Friday, this proposed measure would actually do little to speed up traffic flow in Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare.
“As it was during their first test at implementation, authorities should expect commuters’ wrath to come swiftly again this time,” Gaite said in a statement.
“Kung may bibilis man dito, hindi yun ang byahe kundi ang pagragasa ng galit ng mga commuter, ng mga manggagawa,” he added.
The recent plan of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is to limit buses from the north and make Valenzuela Interim Terminal as their endpoint, while those from the south to make the terminals in Parañaque and Laguna as their endpoint. The MMDA said this move will help curb the heavy flow of traffic along Edsa.
As Metro Manila’s arterial road that connects more than seven cities, about 300,000 vehicles use Edsa daily to go to adjacent streets and avenues.
A study by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last February 2018 said that heavy traffic flow along Edsa is making the government to lose around P3.5-billion worth of possible income per day.
However, both Bayan Muna and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) questioned why the government is removing public modes of transportation on Edsa when most of the vehicles that ply this main artery are privately-owned.
“We’re not quite sure why the government is targeting the mass transport system in its plan to solve the traffic woes in Edsa, when what it should do is exactly the opposite. They should focus their energies in providing an efficient and reliable mass transport system so the people would rely less on private vehicles,” Gaite said.
“How can this scheme ease traffic if buses make up only 20% of the total number of vehicles in Edsa, a lesser number compared to private vehicles? It will actually worsen traffic situation since the government will add point to point vehicles from integrated bus terminals going to Edsa,” KMU chair Bong Labog argued.
Gaite also stressed that this method would only place more burden on poor Filipinos, as commuters would have to shoulder higher transportation expenses caused by additional bus or jeepney rides.
“Talagang pahihirapan nitong bus ban ang napakaraming commuter na kalakhan ay mga manggagawa. Gipit na nga sa pagkakasya ng maliit nilang sahod, papatong pa sa kanilang gastusin ang karagdagang byaheng ire-resulta nitong bus ban,” Gaite explained.
Meanwhile, Labog said that this may also be in line with attempts to implement the jeepney phaseout plan.
“Provincial bus ban in Edsa aims to monopolize and corporatize public mass transport through corporate control of public vehicles going in and out of integrated terminals,” he claimed.
“Since they are in control of all the public vehicles going in and out of integrated bus terminals, it will now be easier for them to push for jeepney, UV express and white taxi phaseout, fare increase and pave the way to P2P vehicles which are made in China,” he added. /jpv
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