Lawmakers eye road map to fix Edsa traffic mess
MANILA, Philippines — The House transportation panel will craft a one-year road map to help authorities solve the perennial traffic problem on Edsa, the committee chair said on Monday.
Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento said his panel was conducting a series of consultations with stakeholders to be able to draw up a “solid and viable” plan to reduce congestion on
Edsa, one of the most important road arteries in Metro Manila.
Upon the instructions of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, the lawmaker has started informal discussions with government officials and private sector leaders to set the stage for congressional hearings that will focus on how to solve the Edsa problem.
“Speaker Cayetano wants our traffic problem in Edsa to be solved within one year. Edsa’s traffic problem is causing [very huge] economic losses for the government and for our people on a daily basis,” Sarmiento said in a statement.
P3.5-B daily losses
Based on estimates of the National Economic Development Authority, the country is losing at least P3.5 billion a day due to the traffic problem, he added.
“What happened last week, unless … we do something about it, will definitely happen again,” Sarmiento said, referring to the worse-than-usual traffic resulting from authorities’ enforcement of the yellow-lane policy on Edsa.
“To resolve the problem, the ultimate goal is to reduce the volume of vehicles on Edsa. For us to attain it, the collective effort of the executive, legislative, judiciary and the private sector is needed,” he stressed.
Sarmiento said there was a need to seriously look at proposals to consolidate the franchise of all Metro Manila bus companies to allow the use of a synchronized dispatch system.
He observed that there were too many buses on Edsa, and “most of the time, especially during off-peak hours, their load factor [is] less than 50 percent which make them inefficient in the use of road space.”
“These 3,000 to 4,000 city buses are being operated by 200 different franchises or two dozen or more operators or owners. These buses compete with each other, creating chaos. Overtaking, speeding, overstaying and all the other road inefficiencies [happen] because of this mob rule,” Sarmiento noted.
“There is no centralized dispatching system to make their headway systematic and efficient. With consolidated operations, there will be less traffic on off-peak hours as there will be [fewer] buses to be dispatched,” he said.
Apart from the proposal to consolidate the franchise of city buses, Cayetano also asked the transportation panel to look into the boundary system practiced by bus companies.
“The drivers still currently run on boundary basis. If they will be consolidated, we can ensure drivers are salaried, then we can be assured of better service,” Sarmiento said.
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