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President Benigno Aquino III: Reconsider the provincial bus ban on EDSA!

This petition had 16 supporters

It has not taken into account the suffering of 80% or 12 million ordinary commuters will go through. This article sums up what is wrong with the scheme:

TAMING THE ROAD RAGE | 5 things MMDA missed in its ban on provincial buses
By: Veronica Uy,
August 7, 2013 1:45 PM [photo featured above is from this article]


The Metro Manila Development Authority’s move to ban provincial buses coming from the southern provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite from entering the metropolis was a targeted, state-sponsored implosion. Unfortunately, it blew up in the faces of the commuting masses. What did MMDA miss before implementing the ban that is part of a strategic Malacanang plan to have an integrated transport system?

1. The biggest part of the equation = the affected commuters

The thousands of commuters from the southern Tagalog provinces who travel to Metro Manila every day for work or school have not been consulted. Of all the road users, the largest constituent did not figure in MMDA's equation. According to its website, a couple of days before the Aug. 6 implementation of the ban, the MMDA consulted the Cavite mayors, presumably because they speak for and in behalf of their commuting public. (Just one question: Does any mayor take the public transport system anywhere?) MMDA also had discussions with the bus operators and with other government agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board. But where were the people most affected by the scheme? Stranded and soaking under the rain. Late for work or school. And if their curses had force, MMDA officials would have died a thousand creative deaths.

Consulting with, or at least informing, affected parties is a sign of respect. The way MMDA dropped the bomb of changes, indicates utter disrespect. Where were the people in all these? MMDA, binastos mo boss mo.

When Manila Mayor Erap Estrada received flak for doing something similar last month, he asked for patience. “Eksperimento pa lang ito (This is just an experiment).” Guinea pigs pala ang mga tao.

2. Empathy

Do those who have control over commuters' lives know what it's like? To wake up three hours before an appointment, wait by the roadside at not-bus stops, stand an hour on a lurching bus with a color-blind Michael Schumacher-wannabe driver, endure buhos-buhos traffic “system,” take another train or jeepney ride, repeat this backward to get home, and pay for this daily torture? If the MMDA did, it would actually think to ease this burden.

3. Adequate information dissemination

The first day of the ban was chaotic. Commuters, bus drivers, and traffic enforcers were clueless. Where can we get the van/multicab/jeepney that would take us to Lawton, LRT, MRT, EDSA, the cancelled destinations of these buses? Nobody knows. At the Coastal Mall terminal, several men in uniform were handing out flyers, which some commuters thought would contain useful information on where to get their next ride. The flyer said, “Wag magkalat (Don’t litter).” Ang sarap ibato sa nagbibigay ng flyer.

Such a simple idea to minimize the confusion that any change brings: Bombard the public with useful information. This point still stems from the idea of respect for the governed if you don’t have the time or the inclination to actively engage the people.

4. Actual plan

Apart from the practical questions posed by unpleasantly surprised commuters, may it also be asked: Where’s the plan, Stan? What is the basis for the plan? Administrative Order No. 40 says the goals include:

Provide a convenient, efficient, safe transport system. (Convenient and safe for whom?)
Decongest roadway. (Not near and around the terminal stations at Coastal Mall, Lawton, and Buendia-Taft.)
Promote road and commuter safety (With the absence of a clear plan? Or an informed enforcing manpower? Fail.)
Reduce pollution in EDSA (Fast-track the expansion of eco-friendly metro train operations.)

A plan presupposes that much thought has been put into what is to be done, that there is some science to it. These were never made public: How many provincial buses enter the metropolis? How many people do they carry? What times of day do they clog the streets? Do they have regular stops? How many have terminals inside the metropolis? How many don’t?

And more important, the same questions must be asked of private cars, of jeepneys, of vans.

Is the problem not simply a problem of enforcement? Everywhere in Metro Manila, simple traffic rules are broken. The intersection of Taft Avenue and EDSA is a perfect example. All modes of transportation are there: de padyak, tricycles, jeepneys, cars, vans, buses. Almost always, there are traffic enforcers. And rarely is it not clogged. It’s the very definition of entropy. This is why the Bourne producers chose this spot to shoot the movie.

Why did MMDA not keep permanently open the left-turning slot for northbound vehicles on Coastal Road? This way, the buses won’t compete for limited space at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and MIA Road as they turn left to the terminal.

And why, oh why, did MMDA have to start their experiment in the middle of the school year, the rainy season? Was it not possible to implement the plan in a staggered way? To give the system time to recognize and solve the kinks?

5. Overall vision

Sell us a vision of a livable city. The earlier mentioned online petition hints at what that could be in terms of standard for public transport: Make it such that people with children, old people, people with disability are able to move around the metropolis in a safe, comfortable, affordable, and predictable manner. Accessible and available.

That means no interminably long lines, no jam-packed trains, no rickety buses and jeepneys, and shorter long travel times. No racing drivers, no holdups or pickpockets.

Air clean enough for walking and biking. Streets with sidewalks and drainage systems (required by law but where are they?) and bicycle lanes.


Essentially, the provincial bus ban, which will soon extend to those coming from the north, from Baguio, Subic, Clark, etc., lacks two basic things: brain and heart.

At Tuesday’s chaos, people were saying variations of these: “Parang di pinag-isipan (It’s as if they did not think it through).” “Di na naawa sa mga pasahero, lalo na yung matatanda at may dalang mga bata (They have no pity for the passengers, especially the elderly and those with children).”

To which, public officials responded, “Masasanay rin yan (They will get used to it).” What are these people doing in public service?


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