Mass transport highway, express bus lane: proposed to solve EDSA traffic

Maris Federez   •   September 16, 2019   •   682

A lawmaker in the Lower House has proposed to dedicate an express bus lane, while another suggested reserving certain hours for mass transportations only along EDSA to solve the perennial traffic in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare.

According to the data of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the average vehicular volume on EDSA is more than 400,000 every day and it is expected to increase further by 15 to 20% these BER-months.

House Committee on Transportation chairman Edgar Sarmiento suggested dedicating the innermost lane of EDSA as an express bus lane for those who will ride the MRT.

Three lanes will be allocated to private vehicles, while the outer lane will be for passenger buses that will stop in designated loading and unloading areas only.

These buses will be allowed to queue in for pick up and drop off of Metro Manila-bound passengers at the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange and the Valenzuela Gateway Complex Terminal.

Sarmiento said this scheme will prevent bus drivers from over-speeding and from overstaying in loading and unloading areas and cause traffic congestion.

“We propose this to eradicate the kanya-kanya system of the buses wherein they compete with each other creating chaos through overtaking, overspeeding, and overstaying,” Sarmiento said.

Meanwhile, Caloocan representative Edgar Erice has proposed the dedication of mass transport highway which aimed at giving priorities to public commuters.

Under his proposal, private vehicles will be off-limit along EDSA on certain hours every day.

“Dapat yung limang lanes ng EDSA from 6 to 9am at 6 to 9pm dedicated lang sa mga public utility vehicles [The five lanes on EDSA shall be dedicated only to public utility vehicles from 6:00 to 9:00am and at 6:00 to 9:00pm],” he stated.

With the 6-to-9-scheme, private car owners will have the option to use alternative roads, leave the house earlier than usual, take the bus, or take EDSA only after 9 o’clock.

The MMDA said it welcomes the said proposals.

“Ito yung pro commuter talaga; para sa mga ordinaryo nating mamamayan na mas mapabilis yung byahe nila. Ngayon, pagdating sa private may mga alternatibo naman sabi nga ni Cong Erice [This is really pro-commuter; for the ordinary people to have faster travel experience. Now, when it comes to private (car owners), there are alternatives as what Cong. Erice said],” according to MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia.

These suggestions, as well as the others, will go thru the MMDA’s engineering team for further study and screening for the selection of the feasible solutions for EDSA traffic.

The selected suggestions will be submitted to the Metro Manila Council meeting in October. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

Modified number coding scheme to take effect in Metro Manila on June 8 – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A modified number coding scheme with exemptions will be implemented in Metro Manila starting Monday, June 8, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced Thursday.

In an advisory, the MMDA said the modified number coding scheme will take effect next week after it was approved by the Metro Manila Council in an online meeting held on May 26.

Based on MMDA Regulation 2020-001 series of 2020, the following vehicles are automatically exempted from the modified number coding scheme:

  • Private vehicles with two or more passengers including the driver, provided that physical distancing is strictly observed and all passengers are wearing face masks
  • Private vehicles driven by doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel
  • All Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), as specified on the latest guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Operators of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) are required to put signage so they could easily be recognized as ride-hailing services, the MMDA said.

The agency earlier expressed hope that exempting the medical frontliners from the modified number coding scheme provides them ease and convenience to their daily transport.

Public transport operations resumed at reduced capacity on June 1 when Metro Manila and other areas shifted to general community quarantine after more than two months on enhanced community quarantine.

Employers group asks IATF to provide decent transport service to commuting workers

Marje Pelayo   •   June 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to provide decent transport service to employees or workers whose employers cannot afford them shuttle service to their workplaces. 

Days after the national government eased quarantine restrictions to general community quarantine (GCQ), still hundreds of workers struggle to get a ride to work due to the limited number of transport vehicles as well as the limited capacity in mass transport service in consideration to the social distancing protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an interview on the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said that although they acknowledged that companies have the obligation to provide their employees with transport service under the guidelines of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there are small scale businesses that cannot provide their workers with such service due to their limited resources.

Given such a situation, their workers are the ones who suffer waiting for long hours for a chance to get a ride to work and back home. 

This prompted ECOP to suggest to the government to provide bus units to workers whose companies are unable to provide them company service. 

Ang bus companies na naka-standby lang naman iyan [Bus companies are just on stand by, anyway],” Ortiz-Luis said.

“Mag-assign ka. Kung gusto nyong ma-control, lagyan ninyo ng pulis lahat ng sasakyan. Sana naiwasan hirap ng nga tao, [Assign some units. If you want control, deploy a cop in each of the bus units. That could ha ve eased the commuters their burden],” he added.

ECOP also noted that the work-from-home scheme may not apply to all employees and their nature of work, that’s why it is inevitable that a number of workers still need to come to their workplaces. 

The employers group appealed to IATF to come up with a concrete plan as to how it will support all concerned workers. 

“Kapag sinabi mo na itong one million, these can go to work now, dapat i-anticipate paano sila papasok, [If you say that these one million can go back to work now, anticipate how they will be able to do so],” Ortiz-Luis said addressing his statement to the IATF.

“Tulungan mo hindi iyong bahala na sila sa buhay nila, [Help them. Do not abandon them],” he added. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

DILG encourages public to start bike commuting to cope with limited mass transport

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is encouraging the public to start bike commuting now that mass transport remains limited. 

He said this will help the public to at least conveniently reach their destinations without being stranded on the streets and increase the risks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. 

Actually iyan ang gusto nating i-promote, iyong malawakang paggamit ng bisikleta nationwide bilang means ng transportation lalo na kung ang pinapasukan mo is within 10 killometers away lang pwedeng-pwede na sa bike iyan,” Año said during an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon.

[Actually, that’s what we’d like to promote, the use of bicycles as means of transportation especially if your workplace is within 10-kilometer distance, that’s very accessible for bikes.]

For now, the national government is not yet allowing back riders on motorbikes, and converting motorbikes into tricycles will also not be possible as they are not allowed on national highways. 

Seeing the high demand nowadays, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is eyeing on regulating the price of bicycles as well as the price of laptops necessary for work-from-home arrangements.

The DTI is asking businessmen to maintain a reasonable price for such goods which are deemed essential nowadays. 

“Hindi masyadong malaki na masyadong masakit for the consumer. Dahil we understand na kailangan din nilang makabawi doon sa mga loses for the past two and a half months pero hindi po para pagsamantalahan na natin ang consumers [An increase that will not hurt the consumers. We understand that they, too, need to recover from their losses from the past two and a half months, but not to the extent that will abuse the consumers],” explained DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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