Dry run of Edsa bus ban ‘not successful’
MANILA, Philippines — Only 5 percent of all provincial buses that would be affected by the controversial Edsa ban joined a voluntary dry run on Wednesday, with an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) admitting the exercise was “not successful.”
The frank assessment came from MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago.
The dry run, which pushed through despite a preliminary injunction issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court last week, was envisioned by the MMDA as a means for gathering information about the policy’s effectivity on easing traffic flow on Edsa.
But of the 2,736 buses that would be covered by the policy, only 136 took part in the first day of the voluntary test run.
If the MMDA had made participation mandatory, 1,477 provincial buses coming from the north should have ended their trips at the Valenzuela Interim Terminal.
On the other hand, 880 buses with Cubao-based terminals would have dropped off their passengers at Santa Rosa Interim Terminal (SRIT) in Laguna province while 379 Pasay City-based buses servicing southern Luzon would have made the Parañaque Interim Terminal Exchange their last stop.
As of the MMDA’s latest count, only 27 operators or a total of 110 buses ended their trips at the designated terminal in Valenzuela City.
At the SRIT, at least 26 provincial buses dropped off their passengers between 4 and 7 a.m., according to SRIT project manager Vic Bonaobra II.
But by 9:30 a.m., the number of participating provincial buses had waned, turning the terminal into a virtually empty hub.
“I would still say it was a success. We are still happy that despite the injunction, there were still participants,” Bonaobra said.
A bus company, HM Transport Inc., which earlier deployed 40 buses to the terminal (original route is Santa Cruz, Laguna to Cubao) was forced to cancel its participation.
No more passengers
“There are no more passengers around (the SRIT),” said HM Transport Inc. operations manager Jojo Fernandez, adding that he was unsure if the firm would still join the dry run in the coming days.
According to him, they lost a lot of their passengers to their competitors which chose not to take part.
MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia had conceded the day before that it was possible there would be little to no participation, although he said the agency had secured the commitment of several bus operators.
With the court injunction, however, officials’ hands were tied as they could not apprehend or impose penalties on those who chose not to join.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.