MMDA tests Edsa bus ban Wednesday, Aug. 7
MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will push through with the dry run of its proposed provincial bus ban on Edsa starting at 4 a.m. today, Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Participation, however, would be purely voluntary, the MMDA stressed on Tuesday, adding that its traffic constables would not apprehend or impose penalties on violators.
A Quezon City judge last week issued a preliminary injunction against the MMDA’s latest traffic policy, saying there was no sufficient basis to justify the ban on one of the metropolis’ busiest thoroughfares.
But according to the MMDA, the injunction does not cover the dry run while drivers’ participation will be voluntary.
“They (bus operators) were the ones who volunteered to try out the policy,” MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said. “[The MMDA can’t] go against the injunction, but if they volunteered to do it anyway, what can we do?”
“It’s a free country, you can do whatever you want to do,” Garcia added. “They want to test the waters, then so be it.”
But at the same time, the MMDA was quick to sidestep responsibility for any confusion among participants arising from the dry run.
“If ever there is confusion, it’s not our fault,” said Garcia. “This [dry run] was well-planned. [Blame it] on the injunction, not us.”
Under the policy aimed at easing traffic congestion on Edsa, provincial buses from the north would end their trips at the designated interim terminal in Valenzuela City, while those from the south should drop off all their passengers either at the terminal in Laguna province or the one in Parañaque City.
Garcia said he had secured the commitment of several bus operators that they would join the dry run today, way before Judge Caritas Walse-Lutero of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 223 issued the preliminary injunction.
He added, however, that since then, he had yet to meet with the same operators. It was also possible, he admitted, that nobody would participate in today’s pilot test.
The court injunction covered the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s Memorandum Circular No. 2019-31, which amended city and provincial bus routes in accordance with the ban, and Metro Manila Council Resolution No. 002, which enjoined local governments to shut down provincial bus terminals on Edsa.