Press Release
October 24, 2010

Recto: EDSA congestion plan should be aimed at bus reduction

Sen. Ralph G. Recto today said any decongestion blueprint intended for EDSA should be anchored on reducing the number of public utility buses (PUBs) plying the national thoroughfare.

"A traffic reduction plan clamping down on the use of private vehicles would not solve the problem. There should be a laser-powered approach to cut through the volume of buses traversing EDSA to attain satisfactory results," Recto said.

He noted that World Bank (WB) figures indicate that the ideal volume of buses along EDSA should be only 1,600 but around 7,000 PUBs, including "colorum" buses, are actually using the major thoroughfare.

Recto said the challenge for government agencies such as the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is to at least halve the current number of buses using EDSA.

"We cut down by half the current volume, we cut down traffic and even pollution along EDSA," he said, noting further that some $2 billion in possible income from economic activities that depend on EDSA is lost everyday.

Recto said new proposals to enrol public utility buses (PUBs) in the number-coding program would impact significantly in bringing down the number of buses plying EDSA.

He said one positive trickle effect of this would be an increase in the ridership of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, which has become heavily dependent on state subsidy due to weak revenues.

The senator also noted that MRT-3 was projected to transport around 600,000 riders daily but only about 414,000 to 500,000 are serviced daily.

"With fewer buses, we could be moving people from buses to climb up the stairs and take the much safer MRT-3 and, in the process, increase its viability," he said.

Recto said shifting the commuting preference of people to MRT-3 would also mean "more value for every peso subsidy" that government pours into MRT system yearly as fare subsidy and for maintenance.

"With a P7.3-billion subsidy for MRT-3 next year, EDSA-bound commuters should better put to good use this subsidy money by patronizing the MRT service," he said.

He said ultimately, the MRT-3 would be able to expand its fleet of coaches or trains on the back of increased passenger traffic and wean away from costly subsidy in the long-term.

Recto nevertheless lauded Metro Manila mayors, who comprised the policy-making body of the MMDA, for shooting down the proposed odd-even scheme for private vehicles along EDSA.

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