CALOOCAN Rep. Edgar Erice wants private vehicles banned from Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) during rush hour, saying it should just be turned into a “mass transport highway” to prioritize working commuters.
Erice said private vehicles should be prohibited from Edsa from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to help decongest it and make it exclusive to public utility vehicles (PUVs) for the sake of ordinary workers.
“We have to be able to bring our workers home first quickly and efficiently,” the lawmaker, a member of the opposition Liberal Party (LP) who is allied with the majority bloc, told dzMM.
Erice said the proposal should be implemented until the completion of the rehabilitation of the MRT-3, the Metro Manila subway, and another road connecting the northern and southern Luzon expressways.
He broached the idea, which he is planning to file in a form of a resolution, during the pre-plenary hearing on the proposed budget of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for 2020, saying “it’s time for owners of private vehicles to sacrifice for the sake of ordinary workers.”
Erice noted that the number of private vehicles passing through Edsa reaches up to 300,000 daily while there only about 8,000 buses.
“We have to prioritize the condition of our ordinary workers, the poor, the lower middle class, those who do not own vehicles,” he later told reporters.
Erice said his proposal, while temporary, would improve traffic flow, save fuel and increase the profit of PUV drivers.
“It will provide an immediate solution,” he said, that the proposal would be adopted and implemented by the MMDA as the Christmas season approaches.
He said the MMDA will have to study if motorcycles and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) will be included in the ban.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said the agency will “seriously” consider Erice’s proposal and discuss it with Metro Manila mayors during the Metro Manila Council meeting next month.
MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said the MMDA will have to study if it could adopt a “hybrid” scheme that would allow private vehicles to ply Edsa during rush hours as long as these are carrying three or more passengers.
“We’ll discuss these (on) October 2 or 3. We’ll talk about it and study the proposal. We can also make it hybrid,” he said.
Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo called on the Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to issue provisional authority for new buses that will serve Commonwealth to help ease the plight of stranded commuters.
“The provisional authority will allow new buses in Commonwealth to untangle the thousands of stranded commuters spilling over to four lanes of the avenue during the rush hour which is aggravated by the MRT-7 construction,” Castelo said.
The neophyte lawmaker agreed that Quezon City’s major thoroughfare could become the “next Edsa” if it is left unattended.
“We should heed the tell-tale signs of another Edsa and take the necessary measures as early as possible,” she said.