We've always been of the opinion that if authorities strictly enforced the yellow lanes on the National Capital Region's main thoroughfare, Epifanio delos Santos Avenue or EDSA, traffic would be for the better.
The rationale was simple: facilitate better traffic flow by giving frequent-stopping city buses the rightmost lanes to be able to load and unload passengers, while private vehicles and provincial buses can use the other lanes for faster transit. But lackluster enforcement and a wanton disregard for the yellow line by city buses, all to jockey for position to get ahead of other competitor buses, has led to a free-for-all.
If you happen to have driven on EDSA yesterday and noticed that traffic was unusually -if not magically- light, there's a very good reason for it. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, now led by retired Army general Danilo Lim, has just held what appears to be a trial run of stricter enforcement of the yellow lane rule.
In a video that has since spread all over social media, buses can be seen being corralled into the two rightmost yellow lanes allocated to them on EDSA. The two lanes were actually designated as yellow lanes several years back for the near-inviolable use of city buses, whilst private vehicles were instructed to use the other three or four lanes.
The video itself was posted by Edison “Bong” Nebrija, the MMDA's (relatively) new chief to manage the critical traffic flow on the 23.8 kilometers of EDSA. Like Lim, Nebrija is himself a former military officer and appears to have enforced a very strict rigor of discipline on EDSA's buses.
By corralling the city buses onto the yellow bus lanes and preventing any overtaking, the PUB drivers were forced to wait until the line moved. More importantly, Nebrija's video also exposed the fact that there are too many city buses in relation to the actual demand. This was evident with the number of buses that are not fully occupied, as narrated by the MMDA's EDSA traffic chief.
He said they'll have to discuss the matter of bus dispatching to prevent issues regarding the excessive number of buses.
All we can say is that we hope the MMDA continues this very by-the-book enforcement of rules on drivers, public utility and private alike. Judging by yesterday's results, such an approach can have very positive effects.