MANILA, Philippines – Manila’s bus ban eases traffic in the congested Philippine capital.
Who benefits from the ban?
Bea Cupin reports.
It’s almost afternoon rush hour along Espana Boulevard in Manila but traffic flows freely.
It’s the result of a new policy.
Starting mid-July, only buses with terminals in the city can pass through Manila.
The city government revises the ban a week later — only valid bus franchises are allowed to enter, 10 at a time.
Loading and unloading is allowed only at designated bus stops and terminals.
Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno says the bus ban will help a ‘deteriorating’ Manila turn into a ‘gate to heaven from being a ‘gate to hell.’ But commuters ask: who really benefits from the new scheme?
Workers and students who live in nearby cities are forced to change their routes.
Buses from Quezon City without terminals inside Manila, go around Welcome Rotonda and try their luck with passengers there.
Joseph doesn’t take that route because it costs him an extra 5 pesos.
But taking a jeep home also means 20 more minutes traveling from his school to Quezon City.
Bus, bus lang, isang sakay lang. Ngayon jeep nalang kasi pag magdalawang sakay ako, mas mahal. (I used to take a single bus to work. Now I take a jeep because if I don’t, I’ll be paying more. )
Moreno says the move will benefit everyone — Manila residents as well as “transients,”– those who work and study but live outside the Philippine capital.
MANILA VICE MAYOR
Umaapila kami, buong kababaang-loob na nakikisuyo sa kanila baka naman hindi kalabisan na sila’y magising 15 or 30 minutes advance sa kanilang regular schedule. (We’re appealing to commuters. Waking up 15-30 minutes earlier than usual isn’t too much to ask.)
BJ, a senior at a university in España, says the bus ban has reduced his travel time.
In favor kasi kasi parang mas madali na yung transportation ko pauwi. Sa papunta lalo kasi mas maluwang na yung road, halos na-minusan ng 30 minutes yung travel time ko. (I’m in favor of the bus ban because it’s easier for me to commute. My travel time went down by almost 30 minutes.)
He admits the scheme isn’t perfect for everyone, but says it’s easy to work around it — there are jeepneys and FXs back to Quezon City.
But for commuters like Joseph, change isn’t easy.
UST CAMPUS HAULER
Mahirap sumakay. Tapos may jeep, sasabit ka pa. (It’s hard to get a ride home. When I take jeepneys, they’re almost always full.)
Moreno asks commuters to be patient.
He says desperate times call for desperate measure.
MANILA VICE MAYOR
[The traffic problem] is a cancer and we need drastic moves.
Other modes of transport — trucks, jeepneys, tricycles, and FX services– will also be overhauled.
The bus ban is only the beginning.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila – Rappler.com