The proposal for bus rapid transit project (BRT) in Metro Manila gained support from Senator Manny Pacquiao.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have been pushing for the BRT—a single EDSA bus route aimed to streamline the bus operations in Metro Manila.
Pacquiao has thrown his support following the pronouncement of officials of both government agencies that only a single bus route dedicated to EDSA would be allowed out of the 61 existing routes once strict quarantine rules in Metro Manila relaxes.
Under the plan, buses shall occupy the median lane, complementing Metro Rail Transit 3 which runs along EDSA.
“This move is foreseen to drastically reduce the number of buses plying EDSA from 5,000 buses to just a little over one thousand. With this scheme, it is expected that traffic congestion in the busiest thoroughfare will be greatly reduced,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying.
Last year, Paquiao similarly proposed such such came out with a similar proposal.
“I am very glad that Secretary Tugade and Chairman Lim are embarking on the project at this time. We share the same vision and I will submit, once needed, the senate resolution to ensure that such a plan be realized and supported immediately,” Pacquiao noted.
Furthermore, the senator called on the DOTR and MMDA for the immediate opening and operations of the integrated bus terminals for northern and southern Luzon provincial buses entering Metro Manila roads—which would require all bus companies to cease their individual city terminals and terminate at central bus terminals outside Metro Manila.
These provincial terminals are located at the FTI Taguig and Sta. Rosa Laguna that will cater to the southern Luzon buses and the Philippine Arena and Valenzuela terminals for the northern Luzon buses.
The move was meant to help decongest Metro Manila with the planned closure of more than 70 provincial terminals, most of them located in EDSA and implementation of the ban on provincial buses from plying EDSA.
Last year, a Quezon City court issued a preliminary injunction against the ban in July, last year.
Pacquiao explained his point for backing the terminals’ immediate opening.
“At this time of pandemic, we need to ensure that all entry and exit points in Metro Manila can be controlled and where we can do the proper monitoring, cleaning and even contact tracing to prevent the further spread of the virus.” said Pacquiao.
“Imagine the difficulty if all the 16,000 provincial buses will be allowed to go inside Metro Manila once the travel restrictions is lifted?”
On the legal impediment on its implementation, Pacquiao said “this should be no reason for the executive branch not to act on this at this point in time.”
“The Bayanihan Act has given the executive branch the needed authority to ask the courts for the immediate lifting of the restraining order. The courts should listen as this is now about doing all that we can to fight this pandemic,” he ended.
So far, Cebu is being readied for the BRT system, with a target completion of this year.
However, in a Facebook post in March 4, the DOTr said that it will be in partial operability by 2021.
Tugade said that an "interim bus system that will mimic the proposed BRT, will be implemented in 2020" which was meant "to help address traffic congestion in the city while BRT is being constructed, in time for its partial operability in 2021."
Photos from Sen. Manny Pacquiao's and the DOTr's Facebook pages