The chairman of the House Committee on Transportation on Friday unveiled the blueprint of a proposed centralized and synchronized bus dispatch system to resolve traffic congestion at Edsa.
In a news statement, Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, a civil engineer, said the proposal seeks to turn Edsa’s rowdy and chaotic city buses into a fast, efficient and predictable mass transport system.
According to Sarmiento, the innermost lane of Edsa will serve as an “express bus lane” that can be accessed through stations used by the Metro Railway Transit 3. Like a carousel, the “express bus lane” will just circle around Edsa, duplicating the route of the MRT.
“People who use the MRT can now have the option to ride the bus, which will be also operated like a carousel. The buses will only load and unload passengers in a synchronized manner at the MRT 3 stations so they are basically an extension of the MRT 3. There will be no traffic in the area because the entire inner lane from Taft Avenue to North Avenue and vice-versa will be enclosed and exclusive to the express bus lane,”Sarmiento said.
The lawmaker said that the three lanes at the middle of Edsa will be dedicated to all types of private vehicles subject to the existing vehicle reduction programs like the number coding scheme.
He added private cars will be only allowed to use the outer lane when turning into an intersection.
“The outer lane of Edsa, or the yellow lane, will be used as a dedicated city bus lane which will also adopt a centralized and synchronized dispatch system. Dedicated bus stops will be established 1 kilometer apart. Loading and unloading of passengers will be strictly implemented on these bus stops,” he said.
Sarmiento said that while the express bus lane will cater to passengers who also use the MRT, the city bus lane operation will extend up to the Parañaque Integrated Bus Terminal in the south and the Valenzuela Integrated Bus Terminal in the north and vice-versa.
The lawmaker also suggested that city buses use the outermost lane in Edsa, or the yellow lane, in a carousel-type system until they reach the Valenzuela Integrated Bus Terminal.
From there, Sarmiento said the city buses will traverse to the south still using the outermost lane until it reaches the Parañaque Integrated Bus Terminal.
“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 added.
Sarmiento hastened to add that the proposal can still be subject to improvements and adjustments by the Department of Transportation and the MMDA as frontline implementing agencies.
Aside from the carousel-type bus system in Edsa, it is proposed that another carousel-type bus system will be operational in other major thoroughfares of Metro Manila.
“This proposal is a work in progress. Details will be discussed by the executives,” he added.
Sarmiento said that if and when the plan is set into motion, the private vehicles that continue to clog Edsa middle lanes would be reduced eventually “because people would now start riding the bus rather than drive their car in what is described as one of the world’s biggest parking lot.”
“Once the volume of vehicles are reduced, that’s the time that we can introduce major infrastructures in Edsa and other major thoroughfares,” he added.
Earlier, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade urged Congress to approve the pending measures granting President Duterte emergency powers to address the country’s traffic problem.
Tugade told lawmakers that said emergency powers for President Duterte is needed so that the government can implement faster solutions to the worsening traffic.
Tugade also allayed fears of lawmakers on granting the emergency power, saying such powers given to the President would not be permanent as it will only be granted for two to three years.
The secretary added that the emergency powers will also not remove the oversight powers of Congress.
During the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act to address the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila and mega cities, such as Metro Cebu and Davao City.
Under the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, it tasks transportation secretary as traffic chief to simplify the country’s management of traffic and transportation and regulate the road use in metropolitan areas.