MMDA proposal allowing ‘5-vehicle convoys’ in EDSA busway for VIPs met with criticism

James Relativo – Philstar.com

November 17, 2023 | 7:02pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 10:58 p.m.) — The Management Association of the Philippines backs the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) decision to limit EDSA busway use to public transport and emergency vehicles, a privilege now to be given to top government officials.

But the group criticized the MMDA’s proposal to permit a “convoy of 5 vehicles of officials” on the busway.

The MMDA last Thursday announced that the DOTr approved its proposal allowing the president, vice president, Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, and chief justice of the Supreme Court to use the lane “to provide assistance in the performance of their duties.”

Officials need to inform the DOTr beforehand and, once approved, traffic enforcers will get the plate number for identification.

“This MMDA proposal must not become a policy,” said MAP in a statement on Friday, citing its deviation from globally accepted busway standards aimed at ensuring efficiency.

“The busway is a dedicated carriageway for buses to transport commuters that was introduced as a solution to the previous chaotic and inefficient bus service extent for many decades to the great detriment of commuters.”

The MMDA last October announced that it will be increasing the fines of EDSA bus lane violators to up to P30,000, pointing out that certain drivers consider the P1,000 penalty too affordable.

It could be remembered that the MMDA recommended allowing the highest government officials in the exclusive bus lane after Sen. Bong Revilla reportedly violated the policy.

The senator has already denied violating the traffic guideline. Two drivers earlier presented themselves to the MMDA, saying that they simply name-dropped Revila.

“The restricted access and exclusivity of the busway, aside from its alignment on the innermost lane, are the two most important standards governing the operation of busways and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system,” continued MAP.

“These standards are the very reasons the busway and BRT system are the most cost-effective urban mass transit system in the world.”

According to the MMDA, over 82 bus lane apprehensions were recorded as of 11 a.m., far from the 514 motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles who were nabbed on the first day of its implementation on November 13.

The group claimed that the violation of the standards spell the “doom” of the EDSA busway, with over 3,000 buses clogging the curbside yellow bus lanes.

MAP said that efficiency of the EDSA busway enabled a mere 550 buses to carry as much as 450,000 passengers a day as of Dec. 27, 2022. Since the inception of the busway on June 1, 2020 until the end of 2022, a total of 154 million passengers were said to have been transported.

“Accomodating convoys of officials demonstrates inconsistency of public policy: favoring the privileged few over the overwhelming majoerity of the commuters and motorists who deserve an efficient EDSA Busway,” MAP ended.


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