Erap’s ban on provincial buses reportedly lauded as first step to decongesting Metro Manila


Newly-minted Manila mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada comes up with a quick win to solve Manila’s traffic mess. Reportedly part of “a grand plan to ease traffic congestion in the capital”, a new council resolution implemented by Erap’s city government bans “the entry of provincial and metro buses without private terminals in the city”.

The City Council passed Resolution No. 48 on July 16 to regulate the entry of city and provincial buses, allowing only those with existing private terminals in Manila. Buses coming from south via Taft Avenue must turn right to Vito Cruz while those coming from San Juan must turn left to Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard.

Buses from Osmeña Highway should turn right to Quirino Avenue then turn around at Plaza Dilao Rotonda back to Osmeña. Buses coming from north of Manila should turn around from A. Bonifacio left to Aurora Boulevard, left Dimasalang Street onward to A. Bonifacio, with loading and unloading zone along Aurora Boulevard corner Elias Street.

Buses that are allowed to enter the city are not allowed to pick up and unload passengers along any street, except at their respective terminals.

Manila's Taft Avenue at 8am Wednesday

Manila’s Taft Avenue at 8am Wednesday

Of course this is really just an isolated solution for the overall traffic mess that makes life across all of Metro Manila a living hell. While images of smoothly flowing traffic along major thoroughfares within Manila have been circulated over the last couple of days, measures put in place to stop the affected buses from entering Manila’s city limits have reportedly impacted traffic flow at major choke points…

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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority traffic aides at the border of Manila and Quezon City said the buses targeted by the ban did not attempt to enter the city, radio dzBB’s Allan Gatus reported.

However, the report said the buses turning around upon reaching the Mabuhay Rotonda caused traffic to slow down slightly on Quezon Avenue, the report added.

…but it is anticipated that these measures started in Manila will eventually be extended to other jurisdictions within Metro Manila on the back of that “grand plan”. Three big transportation hubs are being set up at key Metro Manila entry points at its north and south fringes led by the recently-completed Southwest Interim Transport Terminal (SITT) at the Uniwide reclamation area in Parañaque City. The two others are “temporary” set ups at Quezon City’s Trinoma Mall to serve the metro’s north and at the Filinvest commercial area to serve the south.

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, the Manila bus ban implemented by Estrada complements the overall efforts to build traffic decongestion solutions around these hubs.

The SITT test run being conducted Thursday afternoon is meant to familiarize provincial bus operators and drivers with the new system, he said.

In earlier interviews, Tolentino said commuters disembarking at the SITT can take the other public utility vehicles at the terminal to continue their trip to the capital.

The MMDA chief spoke positively of the Manila ordinance even as it continued to pose inconveniences to commuters still adjusting to the ban and drew protests from affected bus operators.

Chaotic private buses single-handedly snarl EDSA traffic.

Chaotic private buses single-handedly snarl EDSA traffic.

Now uncharacteristically reconciliatory (woefully belated at that) are “bus groups” who are reportedly appealing for increased coordination between them and the government groups involved in implementing the changes. Metro Bus Transport Inc. spokesman Atty. Grace Adducul was quoted in a report saying, “Magkaroon lang po ng koordinasyon, magkaroon pa po ng further studies, ng adjustment… Baka pag nawala na yung mga illegal terminals, naiayos na yung sistema ng trapiko doon, natanggal na yung mga kotong cops, baka naman po ang mga legal na operasyon ng mga legal na bus operators, companies ay hindi na makacause ng traffic sa Maynila…” Translated: “If we could please have more coordination, more studies, and some adjustment. Perhaps if illegal terminals and corrupt cops are eliminated, the legal bus operators will no longer be the cause of traffic jams in Manila…”

There is little that these groups can do, it seems, as there is gathering public support for the new ordinances as reports of positive outcomes coming out of the media pour in. Privately-run public buses and jeepneys along with the “boundary” (commissions-based) system that incentivises anti-social behaviour in their drivers have long been seen to be a major cause of heavy traffic in Metro Manila.

But buses, because of their higher passenger moving capacity, remain the better alternative to the thousands of jeepneys that infest Manila’s streets. The key to their optimal use is in a better system of deploying these within a better-designed and highly-regulated routing system. Because no such system exists in Metro Manila, public utility buses and jeepneys compete for passengers in a laissez-faire manner that sees them jostling for a position at every stop and corner.

[Photos of Taft Avenue and buses clogging EDSA courtesy Joseph Ejercito Estrada Facebook Page and Boylit De Guzman respectively.]

19 Replies to “Erap’s ban on provincial buses reportedly lauded as first step to decongesting Metro Manila”

  1. “…complements the overall efforts to build traffic decongestion solutions around these hubs.”

    Chairman Tolentino’s SITT is, as per his office, a “test run.” It brings back memories of Bayani Fernando’s U-turn and pink fence “experiments.” It also suggests there is NO overall traffic management plan for Metro Manila under development and that this is simply another makeshift solution to improve the Aquino administration’s image. It still doesn’t address the greater problem — traffic caused by city buses, especially at major intersections.

  2. At last, some sanity. Buses should not be allowed to stop between terminals. The next step is to create jeepney terminals with electric charging stations. Get rid of the smoke belchers, replace them with electrics and forbid them from stopping between terminals. Efforts by the bus operators associations to delay the implementation of the new ban because it needs further study in real speak means (give us time to bribe some official who will gut the new program.) See National Geographic’s video on Seoul’s efforts to bring control to their traffic problem. It should be a model for Manila.

  3. is it or isn’t it?
    E-Rap? the guy who is a convicted felon? the mayor of the largest city in the country?
    LOL! only in the Philippines.

    1. Gerry. Gerry. He was convicted of plunder which was punishable by death. He only places 2nd in a presidential election in 2010 ( talk about the past coming to haunt you) . Then wins as mayor as you said. I have four little words for you and the whole country: PROUD TO Be PINOY!!!!!!!!

      1. I’m not sure what you mean, but sure, Proud 2 b…
        it works, I guess.

        BUT, I have seen on this very web-site, by that blogger amongst all bloggers:the Virtual Vigilante, (who is sickened by the ‘travesty of justice’ that has returned this ‘parasite’ back to elected office) calling for an execution of the painful variety be visited upon the guy.

        That Virtual Vigilante, whatta guy(?).LOL!

    2. Well, you’re right, but remember Hon. Mayor Erap was convicted by Kangaroo court of EDSA DOS.

      Cardinal Sin, Saint Cory, Gloria, Yellow Wannabees, Left and Right wingers and the so called Black and White conspirators were the true enemies of our country.

      Look, what happened in our country during their watchs? General Reyes killed himself due to cover-up against his Boss Former Pres. Erap.

      History will be the lightning stars to reckon with this propaganda of anti-Erap social media and tv/mass media et. all.

  4. The thing about that picture of buses blocking Edsa, is that you get the impression that only buses are to blame. That won’t be really true; even private cars and sometimes jeeps that have a partial route on Edsa can do that. Perhaps what Erap’s shows is that if they use political will to solve a problem, it will work. Now to apply that on the more long-term solutions, which were offered in other articles.

    1. Noted, Bro. ChinoF…everybody knows the real problems of this congested roads anywhere around Metro Manila.

      Finally, the real problems of congested roads…those undisciplined bus/jepneeys/taxi drivers, private motorists, and also commuters.

      We are glad and happy the way Hon. Erap implemented the no entry policy of all Buses inside Manila.

      Good decision, teach them a lesson in order them to respect the road courtesy and think for the betterment of Manila and general public.

  5. Stopping the bus and trucks (who deliver the good in and out of the manila harbour) is not the total solution. What about the jeepneys, kuliglig,pedicabs, vendors in the sidewalks, squatters that creeping towards the sidewalks. Temporarily the streets of city of manila will be emptied but for sure the jeepneys if not controlled will flourish and they will be back in the drawing board….I would rather eliminate 10 yr old and more jeepneys in the streets, control the flow of bus and trucks, eliminate the pedicabs, kuliglig and vendors, emphasize the value of sidewalks for the citizen, impose disipline on the street with a hefty penalties.

    1. Parang gusto mo naman kasi agad agad ang pagbabago at improvement. Syempre one step at a time. You can’t remove all of those at one snap. It takes a process and alternatives. I say let’s give them a chance first and support their goals. Wag yung puna agad at reklamo.

      1. pre ok lang yang planu, pero matagal na talaga yang prob regarding sa old jeepneys at ang mga vendors….pero sa bus na nagserserbisyo papasok at palabas ng city of manila ang unang sinampulan…maganda nga result sa traffic pero paanu ang mga tao nagtratrabaho sa city of manila na mula sa labas ng city of manila….kung sabagay tingnan natin maaga pa naman kung anu magiging impact sa pangkalahatan (kasama na ang budget ng mga estudyante, trabahador at pamilya)…aminin na natin na ang bus ay mas transportation pero disiplina lang kailangan….

  6. Fast forward a decade and the population of Metro Manila will have increased by 1 or 2 million.
    In the mean time no infrastructure being built. Skyscrapers popping up on every street corner cramming more and more people into one of the world’s most densely populated spaces.
    Car sales increasing yearly.
    Zero plans or vision to deal with climate change and the city flooding.
    2013 who cares blame it all on the buses, win a few brownie points with the voters.
    2023 Due to all of the above Metro Manila will be in a lot worse state then it is now.

  7. This ordinance was implemented a long time ago by a former Mayor of Manila, then his successor seemingly suspended the said ordinance, and there were rumors that the affected bus companies lobbied it so that it could be brought back. Moreover, there were also rumors that this bus ban was used as a “political plot” to reduce the income of Cavite by banning buses from moving into the city because a certain political family in Cavite was not in good terms with a certain Manila Mayor’s Political Party. 😀

    1. Technically, they are correct. The problem from the start has always been the fact that there is NO comprehensive plan to manage traffic throughout Metropolitan Manila. Now it looks like it will devolve into a pissing contest between government agencies and the City of Manila. In the end it will be the commuters who lose out while they sort things among themselves. Even then, it remains doubtful if the public will be satisfied with the compromise they come up with.

    2. Then Erap recently came out with a statement that buses were not totally banned, he was after only “colorum” buses and licensed buses were allowed to ply Manila. What? It wasn’t clear at first. Can’t they be clearer next time?

      Then you see some TV crews going out at 3 am, non-rush hour times, so show how clear it is. But it is clearer than other times, it is not rush hour. Apparently, there’s a bit of spin on this issue too.

      1. In keeping with the bravado of his “macho” screen image Mayor Erap has also challenged the bus companies and their association to sue him in court. This is really getting out of hand.

        People may initially laud Erap’s ban but that just reveals how narrow minded and shallow their thinking is. The ban is akin to squatters dumping their garbage into esteros, public streets, or adjacent properties. Out of sight to Erap means out of mind. But all he really did was to dump the problem in someone else’s backyard. The result is worsening congestion elsewhere in the metropolis. What is missing is a coordinated metro-wide traffic solution. A mass transportation system that encourages people to leave their private vehicles at home in favour of public transport. Unfortunately, it seems the former president is more concerned with scoring political points than in finding a long term solution.

        1. All this traffic is a nightmare and could be fixed somewhat by taking a look at how Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, Australia, CA use the trolley or rail system for affordable and quick non-stop transportation, electrical also, it’s a Mad Max world here and it needs some serious infrastructure planning and organization.

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