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Those Edsa bus terminals

"Edsa has become a long parking lot."

 


Clearly those terminals of provincial buses along Edsa contribute to the heavy traffic on the country’s only expressway. Instead of an expressway, Edsa has become a long parking lot. There are no more peak and off-peak hours from north to south in this most travelled major highway. The heavy traffic costs the economy millions of pesos a day in lost business and man-hours.

Yet to hear one congressman criticize the Duterte administration solution to the problem by banning provincial bus terminals along Edsa and inside Metro Manila, one would think this legislator does not care because he commutes to Congress driven in his air conditioned car with special license plates. Or he lives in one of those gated communities near Congress.

This prompted Buhay Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza to confront Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin for being insensitive to the plight of daily commuters using Edsa to go to their place of work. Garbin said commuters living outside the Metro area now have to pay the extra fare after being dropped off by the provincial busses at the city boundary. Atienza, on the other hand , said there are just as many if not more commuters who use Edsa. If late for work because of the crawl of traffic on Edsa, these commuters could lose their jobs adding to the millions of unemployed Filipinos.

This led to a heated verbal exchange between Atienza and Garbin who said he was speaking as a member of the minority in the House. Atienza retorted he was also a member of the minority and more senior than Garbin who kept his silence knowing he was out of his league against Atienza.

“Here we have a solution being offered by the President. Why is there a member of Congress shooting the proposal down like he has more the interest of the bus companies?” asked Atienza whose debate with Garbin was carried live by CNN Philippines.

Atienza on occasion has differed with President Duterte’s government policy, but banning provincial bus terminals on Edsa is one he agrees with to ease traffic on this major road artery. Lito, a former two-term mayor Manila, knows whereof he speaks. He knows the metro landscape and the movement of people who work and live in the metro area.

On House politics, Atienza said if asked for his support, he would throw it behind Leyte Rep. Martin Romualez’s bid for the Speakership. He’s a friend and quite qualified for the House leadership, added Atienza.While Romualdez has a good chance of assuming the House speakership, it looks like Senate President Tito Sotto will retain the top post in the upper chamber, with Duterte’s newly elected senators expressing their support. In addition, senatorial topnotcher Cynthia Villar saying she has no interest in the Senate presidency.

Perhaps the presidency in the 2022 elections, when Digong steps down after his six-year term. But then there’s Inday Sara, presidential daughter and Davao City mayor who gained a big political following as shown in the crowd who attended her campaign for the Duterte senatorial candidacy. The 2022 presidential race indeed is going to be interesting if we throw in Manny Pacquiao in the equation.

Atienza pointed out that the Long Island Expressway in New York was a long parking lot like Edsa until NYC traffic managers opened a special lane for vehicles carrying at least two or three passengers. The idea worked and there is now less traffic on the LIE. There used to be such a plan for Edsa but as usual there was no implementation after the MMDA and LTFRB announcement.

“Adding to the traffic woes is that the provincial busses load and unload passengers along Edsa instead of going direct to the terminal. We see these busses clogging the designated area for city buses. This is anarchy against the whole of society,” said Atienza.

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , Edsa , provincial bus terminals
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