Commuters will have to take a maximum of 3 bus rides to travel to and from opposite ends of Metro Manila under a proposed single route system being eyed by authorities, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Wednesday, May 27.
MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said at the Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday that the proposal aims to ease traffic in major thoroughfares like EDSA and to address mass transportation concerns, since public transportation vehicles would only be at 50% carrying capacity because of the pandemic.
He said the idea was raised in the MMDA's previous meetings with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Garcia explained that if before, a commuter from Fairview in northern Metro Manila has to take only one bus ride to reach Alabang in the South, under the new system, the commuter would be required to change buses two more times.
Under the single routing scheme, major thoroughfares like EDSA will be considered only one route and buses plying this route would just go back and forth within the day.
So if you're coming from Fairview, you would ride one bus to reach EDSA North, take another bus to traverse the entirety of EDSA, and upon reaching the South end, get off and take a third bus to Alabang.
"Ang unang challenge po dito na sinasabi nila, lilipat tayo ng bus 3 times pero 'pag sinuma total niyo 'yung biyahe 'nyo mas bibilis po 'yan," said Garcia.
(They say the challenge here is you would have to change buses 3 times but if you compute the travel time, it would be quicker.)
Garcia said that the Fairview-Alabang bus trip would normally take around 3 hours because of the traffic holdup in EDSA, where 4,600 buses ply every day. Garcia said this is because 60 of the more than 80 bus routes in Metro Manila go through EDSA.
Garcia said that under the single route system, the number of buses plying EDSA every day would be reduced to 600, and that the turnaround time would be quicker so more buses will be available to commuters.
"Makikita po natin dati during rush hour, ang dami ng tao sa kalsada parang kulang ang ating mga bus. Actually hindi po kulang. Ang nangyayari lang sobrang tagal ng turnaround because of traffic so hindi po nakakaikot agad kaya kinukulang ang mga bus," said Garcia.
(In the past, we would see so many people on the road as if we lacked buses. Actually, there are enough buses. What happened was traffic slowed down the turnaround time so the buses couldn't return quickly so few buses would arrive.)
"Gagawin nating 600 buses – we will dedicate a lane for the buses sa left side tabi ng MRT. Dire-diretso na 'yan mas bibilis po ang turnaround (We will make it 600 buses and we will dedicate a lane on the left side of the MRT. Traffic will be smooth so the turnaround time will be quicker)," Garcia added.
Garcia said that even under general community quarantine when buses operate at 50% passenger capacity, there would still be 5 buses per kilometer on EDSA to cater to passengers.
"It's more than enough kahit bawasan mo ng 50% ang laman (even if you decrease the capacity by 50%) because of physical distancing," said Garcia.
Garcia also justified the move to ban jeeps and buses for now as Metro Manila is seen to transition to general community quarantine (GCQ), saying that it would be hard to monitor passengers at this time.
The move was slammed by commuters as depriving the poor of accessible mode of transport, but Garcia said the priority for now is health rather than mobility.
Taxis and transport network vehicles service (TNVS) are allowed in GCQ, said Garcia. – Rappler.com