A local business group has urged to implement total system upgrade of the EDSA busway and bus service on the “Carousel Line” as well as its eventual privatization for cost effective operation of the mass transport system.
The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), in a letter jointly signed by MAP President Rogelio L. Singson and MAP Infrastructure Committee Chair Eduardo H. Yap,, has submitted to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista its recommendation for the DOTr to prioritize the total system upgrade of the EDSA busway and bus service on the “Carousel Line”.
According to MAP, the upgrade will complete the EDSA busway, a work-in-progress, scale up its capacity and raise it to the level of global standards to optimize the system to achieve its full potential as a cost-effective, efficient, high-capacity urban mass public transport system to the high-commuter density of EDSA. This will ensure long-term sustainability as a complementary mass transport to the MRT3.
To improve commuter convenience and comfort, MAP urged the augmentation of vehicles in the EDSA Carousel, MRT3, LRT2, LRT1 and PNR Commuter lines when conditions in their respective stations allow. These lines should have the shortest waiting time (and therefore the shortest queues) for commuters during rush hours.
Other MAP recommendations include increasing the capacity of station platforms to accommodate larger number of commuters and enable simultaneous docking of buses; construct more stations to close the gap between stations and footbridges with concourse dedicated for the busway; expedite the construction of donated busway station footbridges; resolve chokepoints along the carousel line; replicate the busway in other major commuter corridors in the National Capital Region (NCR); provide ease of bus-to-train connectivity; provide bus exchange stations for trunk-to-feeder line transfer; decongest the Ayala stations and McKinley Road by providing an alternate route from Bonifacio Global City to Buendia stations; and introduce modern high-capacity bi-articulated electric commuter busses to optimize the full potential of the busway.
MAP further cited the issuance of an Executive Order by President Marcos, Jr. to enjoin all relevant agencies to comply with the National Transport Plan (NTP) of 2017, particularly to prioritize people mobility through public transportation and active mobility, such as walking and biking, by prioritizing the allocation of road space for such purposes.
But the group noted that the current busway station platforms and sidewalks are very narrow and grossly inadequate as the space required for them were allocated instead to augment private vehicle lanes pursuant to misguided car-oriented road management policy.
In conclusion, MAP urged the DOTr to consider the privatization of the EDSA busway and bus service, and urban commuter rail systems, consisting of the MRT3, LRT2 and PNR Commuter lines. This could be implemented under the so-called hybrid mode wherein the government provides the infrastructure and its improvements, while a private concessionaire will operate the service and maintain the facilities under an operate and maintenance (O&M) concession.
MAP even offered to work with the DOTr and other private sector stakeholders in preparing the terms of reference (TOR) for the bidding and award of the concessions to ensure a level playing field for all.
MAP assured Secretary Bautista of its support in assisting the DOTr fulfill its mandate and commitment to provide efficient mass public transportation that is up to global standards.