LTFRB: Only one bus route allowed in EDSA under general community quarantine

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11)  Buses traversing Metro Manila will have fewer routes, with only one route designated for the entire stretch of EDSA, once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Martin Delgra made the announcement on Monday during the virtual hearing of the Senate public services committee under Senator Grace Poe.

According to Delgra, from the previous 96, only 29 bus routes will be given a special franchise if and when Metro Manila transitions from the ECQ to the general community quarantine (GCQ).

"The rationalization of the routes at least during the general community quarantine are in consultation with the Department of Interior and Local Government," Delgra said. "Regional offices are directed to coordinated with local government units."

"Out of the 96 routes, 61 of them pass through EDSA," he said. "[There is a] need to increase efficiency that's why we're looking at a system now where there is a dedicated service for EDSA as the main corridor."

Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia said the rationalization will lead to a faster turnaround of buses.

Meanwhile, buses that used to traverse EDSA will be served by separated and dedicated bus routes, he said.

This means a commuter taking on a bus on Fairview on the way to Makati may get off on EDSA and transfer to another bus heading to Ayala.

Only buses in the Monumento-Baclaran route will be able to use the single EDSA route, from Caloocan City in the north, to SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City in the south.

For Delgra, the rationalization will likely replace the old routes beyond the GCQ period and even when the pandemic is over, in a bid to accommodate more commuters while still observing safety protocols.

"At this point in time, [we have] the opportunity to reform the public transport system all throughout," he said. "This should be calibrated in terms of need, in terms of route, in terms of how are we going to ferry essential workers from their residence to their place of work."

The ECQ in Metro Manila is scheduled to end on May 15, but there are various proposals to extend it, shift to a less strict GCQ, or put in place some modifications to the ECQ.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide soon on the matter. He is scheduled to submit on Monday his 7th weekly report to Congress on his use of additional powers in dealing with the COVID-19 health crisis.