An opposition lawmaker castigated on Thursday the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for traffic experiments that have resulted in a “carmaggedon” on EDSA, the capital’s main thoroughfare.
In a statement, Sen. Francis Pangilinan described as “anti-family, anti-progress” the EDSA experiments, which he said had worsened traffic gridlocks and prolonged commute hours.
“Think of the commuters’ circumstances in the experiments to ease traffic jams. Commuters who make up 70% of road users use only 20% of the roads, but their space is further being limited? We ask not only for consideration, but also for the use of logic,” said Pangilinan, who has proposed the Magna Carta for Dignified Commuting.
“Who suffer from ‘carmageddon’? Mothers and fathers who barely see their children. Children who are exhausted by the trip. Everyone who waste their time in traffic. Solutions must be related to those who suffer from this mess,” he added.
Senate Bill 775, filed by Pangilinan, seeks to ensure that the millions of commuters nationwide are “entitled to a public transport system that is safe, convenient, reliable, and affordable commute with dignity.”
The bill also proposes a National Office on Commuter Affairs, “aiming for a shift to a more sustainable transportation policy that provides safe access and mobility to all, promote economic development, preserve the environment, and ultimately uplift the lives of all commuters.”
The MMDA has limited buses to the two rightmost lanes of EDSA, reserving the rest of the lanes to private vehicles. It also held a dry-run of the proposed provincial bus ban despite a court injunction, causing confusion and even more congestion on the roads, Pangilinan noted.
Pangilinan called on the MMDA and other government agencies to shift their focus and priority to improving and expanding mass transport.
Also on Thursday, Sen. Grace Poe said the Senate Committee on Public Services would ask MMDA officials for an explanation in a hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Transport officials should explain the traffic that has choked EDSA and brought untold misery to the public, she said in a statement.
A frustrated Edison “Bong” Nebrija, MMDA traffic head, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday: “Indeed such a thankless job, damn if you do and damn if you don’t.”
The MMDA has said it was only implementing traffic rules that restrict buses on bus lanes.
Nebrija said: “We need the cooperation and help of all the road users of EDSA, may mas matinding problema tayo kaysa sa traffic…..ang ating sarili (We have a bigger problem than traffic, ourselves)!” (PressONE.ph)