SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The Committee on Metro Manila Development (CMMD) of the House of Representatives conducted an ocular inspection of the new bus lane along EDSA on Tuesday morning to evaluate the soundness of this particular scheme in view of the government’s master plan for public transportation in Metro Manila.
Once fully operational, the scheme envisions all buses traversing EDSA to go in a continuous circular route occupying the innermost lane, having stops in the center island with passenger access via existing and to be constructed pedestrian bridges.
Once fully operational, this in theory would allow private vehicles unimpeded movement specially going in and out of all roads connecting to EDSA and decrease delays in this busy thoroughfare.
Tondo, Manila Representative and Chairman of the CMMD Manny Lopez states “In the early phase of this project where the route is incomplete, bus stops and elevated pedestrian walkways are unfinished, we totally understand the frustration of our countrymen. As this new bus lane becomes fully operational, we expect to see an improvement in the traffic situation in EDSA, but more importantly a reduction in total travel time of our bus riding commuters.”
However, EDSA is only one piece of the whole mass public transportation system in Metro Manila. It begins from the eskinitas and tertiary roads to the secondary feeder roads which brings our countrymen to the major thoroughfares like EDSA which again leads to secondary and tertiary roads that bring you to your destination.
Lopez said the objective of an effective mass public transport system is that it should be able to bring our countrymen to their places of work and safely back home in the shortest possible time. And here is where major work and progress needs to be made.
Due to the substantial gaps in the mass public transport system, massive delays are encountered by our returning to work countrymen. It is not unusual to hear of stories of people walking for kilometers and taking 5 or 6 hours getting to work and another 5 to 6 hours going home. This is unacceptable and we must get our acts together.
Lopez adds “Metro Manila and the areas covered by Mega Manila account for more than 62% of the country’s GDP as per 2018 statistics. Hence, if we intend to get the national economy on track, it is first imperative that we get the economy of Metro Manila going and a big part of this is getting our workers to work and safely bringing them home to their families in a reasonable amount of time. This is a very complicated issue because faced with this COVID crisis, government’s primary responsibility is the health and safety of our countrymen.”
However, Lopez believes that we can have an effective public transport system that is also safe and conforms to health standards.
“We may also have to be flexible in our plans. Modern jeepneys, though maybe due, is simply insufficient to service specially or secondary and tertiary feeder roads. Let us get our traditional jeepneys back on the roads with guidelines that make them safe for use adhering to the health guidelines for this pandemic,” Lopez said.
Lopez said that the CMMD and the whole leadership of the House of Representatives are fully committed to help the DOTr family in finding a solution to the urgent need of making sure that the government has a reliable, safe, and comprehensive public transport system in place as we loosen restrictions to our countrymen and as we get the country back on track and escape from the claws of this COVID pandemic.
Source: Committee on Metro Manila Development, House of Representatives