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DOTr move allowing '5-vehicle convoys' in EDSA busway for VIPs met with criticism

MANILA, Philippines — The Management Association of the Philippines supports the policy of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to restrict use of the EDSA busway to public transportation and emergency vehicles, a privilege now to be given to top government officials.

The MMDA last Thursday confirmed that the DOTr finally approved its recommendation to allow a convoy of five vehicles of the President Vice President, Senate President, Speaker and Chief Justice to use the exclusive EDSA bus lane starting Nov. 20.

"This MMDA proposal must not become a policy," said MAP in a statement this Friday, stating that it runs counter to globally accepted Busway standards that account for its efficiency.

"The Busway is a dedicated carriageway for buses to transport commuters that was introduced as a solution to the previous chaotic and inefficient bus service extent for many decades to the great detriment of commuters."

The MMDA last October announced that it will be increasing the fines of EDSA bus lane violators to up to P30,000, highlighting that some errant drivers find the P1,000 fine to be affordable.

It could be remembered that the MMDA recommended allowing the highest government officials in the exclusive bus lane after Sen. Bong Revilla reportedly violated the policy.

The senator has already denied violating the said traffic guideline. Two drivers earlier presented themselves to the MMDA saying that they simply name-dropped Revila.

"The restricted access and exclusivity of the Busway, aside from its alignment on the innermost lane, are the two most important standards governing the operation of Busways and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system," continued MAP.

"These standards are the very reasons the Busway and BRT system are the most cost-effective urban mass transit system in the world."

According to the MMDA, over 82 bus lane apprehensions were recorded as of 11 a.m., far from the 514 motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles who were nabbed on the first day of its implementation last November 13.

The group claimed that the violation of the said standards spell the "doom" of the EDSA Busway, with over 3,000 buses clogging the curbside yellow bus lanes.