Installing elevated walkways and developing intermodal trænsport terminals within Metro Manila were just a few suggestions that the lawmakers created to resolve the traffic the continuously worsening in the busiest thoroughfare of the capital.
The Senate Committee on the Public Services carried a hearing about the implementation of the provincial bus ban and also the traffic issues in Metro Manila, on Tuesday.
The chair of the public services committee, Sen. Grace Poe told in the hearing would serve as “an opportunity to clarify things before it gets messy.”
Poe told in her opening statement,
“Let me make this clear: I commend the MMDA for their resolve. As MMDA General Manager [Jojo] Garcia has said: ‘We need to start somewhere.’ But this is not a substitute for rational, consulted, and evidence-based policymaking.”
Garcia pointed out that the provincial bus ban was indicated to decongested the yellow lanes in Edsa, which is for buses only, during the hearing.
He stated that 6,500 or around 5% are buses among the 380,000 vehicles that were passing by in Edsa every day.
He also said that among the 6,500 buses, half are city buses while the other half are provincial buses.
“So the 6,500 buses passing through the yellow lane, if we remove half of those — which are provincial buses — our yellow lane will immediately be decongested — meaning there will only be 3,250 buses left to pass through the yellow lane. So it’s the commuters who will benefit here.”
The Department of Trænsportation (DOTr) wanted to integrate the bus terminal into 4-5 “modern and big” ones based on the MMDA officials.
Right now, there are around more than 40 terminals on the Edsa.
“The direction of DOTr is taking is to remove these terminals because we can’t allow operators, just because they have money, to buy private property and then turn that into a terminal.”
“Our terminals in Metro Manila have spread like mushrooms. They’re everywhere. So they [DOTr] want to integrate these into four or five big and modern terminals.”
Garcia also stated that the government was already searching for existing terminals that they can use as a temporary terminal or interim which includes in Santa Rosa, Lag0na and Valenzuela City because placing up these terminals can get years.
Poe, on the other hand, stated that the worried agencies might inadequate in consultations with associated sectors in her interview with reporters after the hearing.
“Well, I guess we have seen that they lack consultations with various sectors.”
“We really need several terminals with connectivity.”
“But let’s be honest. If these terminals are a bit far, implementation [of the provincial bus ban] will not be orderly. So instead of banning them immediately, why don’t set up get intermodal terminals within strategic areas near Edsa?”
The Senator also stated that buidling an elavated walkway that can coat the whole Metro Manila can help to relieve the bumber-to-bumper traffic that was happening in the city.
“Come to think of it, many of our countrymen are already thinking about their health.”
She also said,
“So why won’t we just do that? After all, the DOTr said they [the walkways] could quickly be done.”
Senator Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is also going to the hearing, suggested building bike lanes and elevated walkways in the Edsa.
The Senator also urged the MMDA to “the elevated walkway project that has long been budgeted for by the national government and even included in the General Appropriations Act.”
During the Senate inquiry, he told,
“I see no clear logical reason why it was not implemented.”
He also said,
“This project will not be met with much opposition since the government owns the land. We will have to talk only with the public utility companies, which I doubt would oppose this particular public-friendly project.”
Poe also asked on the simulation of the traffic decongestion proposal of the MMDA and also the short and long-term plan of it at the end of the hearing.
“Otherwise we will assume that this country does not have a trænsport plan.”