MMDA Eyes Automated, Orderly Bus Dispatching

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will soon enhance the agency's Organized Bus Route (OBR) through semi-automated dispatch system aimed at limiting and ensuring order in bus operations along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA).

MMDA official Mila Silvestre said the agency is now in the process of getting and scanning the fingerprints of passenger bus drivers that regularly ply EDSA and other major roads in the metropolis.

''Under the biometric system, we are now scanning the fingerprints to establish the identity of the drivers,'' said Silvestre after a meeting with bus operators.

She said the agency hopes to do away with the use of numbered cards given to drivers when they pass through OBR terminals that regulate the dispatch of buses from their designated terminals to their regular routes.

The OBR system is the regulated dispatch of buses from their designated terminals to control the number of buses plying EDSA and other major thoroughfares. Buses are fielded on intervals, depending on passenger volume in certain areas.

The MMDA initially issued numbered cards to buses on various checkpoints to track their route for the program, which was designed to rid EDSA of colorum buses.

However, Silvestre said passenger drivers have learned to cheat on the system by keeping instead of surrendering their queue cards.

She said the semi-automated system also hopes to reduce the number of buses, especially out of line buses that are plying EDSA and other major thoroughfares in the metropolis.

Figures show that there are more than 3,000 authorized buses on the EDSA route daily, making an estimated 32,000 trips.

The MMDA said there are still too many buses on EDSA, prodding the agency to develop other measures to further reduce the number of vehicles - public and private - to help solve the worsening traffic situation in the metropolis.

Earlier, a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) stated that EDSA has a carrying capacity of 1,600 buses on a daily basis. However, there are about 3,800 using the thoroughfare daily.

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