THE Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has proposed a new traffic scheme that would segregate bus stops in Edsa to ease road congestion and lessen accidents. MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said they will replace the current scheme wherein the two types of city buses in Edsa — A for Alabang routes and B for Baclaran routes — can load and unload passengers on all stops in the said major road. In the proposed scheme, Tolentino said they are planning to designate every other stop to either only A or only B. “For example, only Buses B can stop at Taft, while A can only stop at Magallanes,” Tolentino said. The MMDA chief added that a certain percent of each bus fleet will be labeled as “all-stop” buses, which will load and unload at every bus stop to accommodate short-distance travels. “As of now, what we’re thinking is that the all-stop buses will be able to accommodate those at Bus A stops who want to get off at Bus B stops and vice versa,” he told the operators.
The agency expects that with the new plan, bus congestion in the yellow lane as well as accidents will be reduced. “There won’t be a reason for all buses to fight over one bus stop anymore. Plus, it will increase travel time for our commuters,” said Tolentino. Tolentino assured that several consultations with bus operators and an extensive information campaign will be conducted before the implementation of the scheme. According to the MMDA, about 3,000 buses ply Edsa every day but they are only allowed to use the two rightmost lanes, commonly called yellow lanes. In 2005, the Edsa Bus Route Revalidation Survey funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency showed that there is an oversupply of 420 to 690 bus units in Edsa.
A 2009 study of the World Bank also revealed that there is an oversupply of buses in Edsa relative to demand. It also cited a survey in late-2007, which indicated a day-long average load factor across all routes operating on Edsa. The survey said it takes an average of five hours to complete a round trip along the 24-kilometer Edsa, at an average speed of about 15 kilometers per hour and one minute stop at each of the more than 15 designated bus stops. The congestion in bus stops is also caused by the “intense competition” among drivers who “jostle for space and tend to stay longer” at designated loading and unloading stops to get passengers.