Photo shows vehicles traversing EDSA.
The STAR/Russell Palma
'Partial' provincial bus ban seen to help ease EDSA traffic
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - August 13, 2019 - 12:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Instead of totally banning provincial buses from EDSA, buses from outside Metro Manila should at least be allowed to use Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare during non-peak hours.

Lawmakers from Bicol stressed this point, which they said would partly address worsening traffic situation on Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, during a Senate hearing on Tueday on the planned ban on provincial buses.

“As a probinsyano, a simple solution might be why don’t we allow or partially allow them to enter in non-peak hours such as 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.?” Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte (Camarines Sur), noting buses in his province leave Naga City at 8 p.m. and arrive in Metro Manila before 4 a.m. the next day.

Villafuerte added: “It’s not rush hour. If we allow buses to come in at non-peak hours then we partially solve the problem.”

Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. (AKO Bicol party-list) echoed the sentiment of his fellow legislator from Bicol, noting that buses from Albay leave Legazpi at around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and arrive in Metro Manila before 6 a.m. the next day. 

“They arrive in Metro Manila when there is no traffic,” Garbin said. AKO Bicol party-list filed a petition before the Supreme Court in April, urging it to stop the ban on provincial buses along EDSA.

AKO Bicol, in its petition, argued that the revocation of business permits of bus terminals along EDSA is unconstitutional and that the move would inconvenience people instead of easing their burden.

“It will entail more expenses to the provincial commuters, prolong travel time and [bring them] so much inconvenience,” Garbin said.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the proposed partial provincial bus ban can be a solution.

“The partial provincial bus ban at this point looks acceptable. Between 9 p.m.—10 p.m. until 4 a.m.—5 a.m., that seems possible,” Sotto said.

The Senate Committee on Public Services, which is chaired by Sen. Grace Poe, is holding an inquiry to tackle the proposed provincial bus ban along EDSA, which the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is set on implementing.

Provincial bus vs P2P buses

Villafuerte and Garbin also questioned the proposal to replace provincial buses with point-to-point buses.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia earlier said the agency is eyeing the deployment of P2P buses for luggage-laden commuters. Other passengers can use city buses with routes extended to the interim bus terminals in Valenzuela City and Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

"While you are prohibiting provincial buses to go to EDSA, there will be 2,000 new P2P buses. What’s the difference between a P2P bus and a provincial bus? There’s no substantial difference between them," Villafuerte said.

P2P buses operating in Metro Manila generally have seats that are wider and are similar to those used to ferry passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“The difference is that you only transfer the confusion and traffic elsewhere and end up at the same time in EDSA,” Garbin said.  

EDSA BUS BAN
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