The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Friday said it is supporting the restrictions imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the access and use of the EDSA Busway, but pointed out that only the “most essential” exemptions must be allowed.
“But we must state that the proposal of the MMDA [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority] to allow a ‘convoy of 5 vehicles of officials’ on the Busway runs counter to globally accepted Busway standards that account for its efficiency,” MAP said in a news statement.
The business group emphasized that this MMDA proposal must not become a policy, noting that 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 extant for many decades to the detriment of commuters.
Now that a solution has been introduced with “demonstrated effectiveness,” MAP stressed that it must not be allowed to be compromised or degraded by lax or what it called “pusong mamon” enforcement.
According to the business group, accommodating convoys of officials demonstrates “inconsistency” of public policy that tend to favor the privileged few over the “overwhelming” majority of the commuters and motorists, who the group said, deserve an efficient EDSA Busway.
According to local news reports, MMDA announced that the Transportation department, in a letter dated November 14, gave it nod to its recommendation to allow the convoys of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker and Chief Justice to use the Edsa carousel bus lane starting November 20 “to provide assistance in the performance of their duties.”
MAP explained that 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 Busway and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems.
These standards, the business group pointed out, are the “very reasons the Busway and BRT system are the most cost-effective urban mass transit system in the world.”
Hence, it said that all efforts must be exerted to adhere to these Busway standards to protect it from being “degraded.”
“Violation of Busway standards will spell the doom of this EDSA Busway and chaotic bus service will reign once again as before when over 3,000 buses clogged the curbside yellow bus lanes and caused traffic turmoil,” MAP said in its statement.
According to the business group, the efficiency of the EDSA Busway enabled a mere 550 buses to carry as much as 450,000 passengers a day as of December 27, 2022.
In the 30-month period since the inception of the Busway on June 1, 2020 up to the end of 2022, MAP said 154 million passengers were transported.
Image credits: Bernard Testa