By Chito Chavez
The militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is strongly opposed to the ban on provincial buses on EDSA, calling it anti-poor and a violation of commuters’ rights.
KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog said on Wednesday the only way to solve traffic in EDSA is for government to provide a safe, efficient and affordable mass transport service.
“An efficient and affordable public transportation system should be at the core of government’s program in solving traffic in EDSA. Public transportation should be enhanced instead of banning provincial buses in favor of a few big businesses interested in running new bus units in Metro Manila,” said Labog.
The group slammed the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for the carrying out a dry run of the ban last week.
The dry run was severely criticized after it inconvenienced thousands of commuters.
Labog said commuters, drivers and small operators who use EDSA daily must be consulted in crafting a solution to the traffic in Metro Manila’s main highway.
“Workers and employees are the daily riders in EDSA as they go to and from their work and they mainly rely on public transportation, he said.
The bus ban is an added burden to commuters, who have to transfer buses at the designated terminals, take longer hours of travel, and pay more for taking several trips, Labog said.
He pointed out that even with the ban, government will still introduce new point-to-point buses (P2P) on EDSA, negating whatever vehicle reduction it deems consequential to the new scheme.
“Provincial buses are not the major cause of EDSA traffic. MMDA must admit that in this new scheme it is not really addressing the volume of vehicles traversing EDSA, he said.
Labog cited MMDA’s finding that there are only 12,283 buses compared to 247,527 cars traversing EDSA every day.
The same MMDA study confirmed that buses, trucks, taxis, motorcycles and utility vehicles comprise only 113,694 vehicle units on EDSA, or just close to half of the number of cars.
Labog said those behind the provincial bus ban are big businesses tied with foreign investors who want to deploy P2P buses and other vehicles, eventually monopolizing public transport on EDSA.
“Is the government really interested in solving traffic in EDSA, or is it only scheming to facilitate the entry of big foreign and local corporations into the public transport system in Metro Manila? We think it’s the latter,” he said.