Back in July of last year, the MMDA moved to re-place the passenger doors of the EDSA buses on the left side. This will allow the ease and safety of passengers as they get on or alight from the bus. The MMDA got their wish the following month as several buses plying the EDSA Busway now had doors on both the right and left sides.
Fast forward to 2021, and there are still numerous buses that only have doors on the right side. However, this will soon change as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) revealed that the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will require EDSA Busway vehicles to have left-side doors.
According to Steve Pastor, Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure, there are already 30 buses (more or less) that have doors on the left side. For Pastor, this is the proof of concept that will become the basis of the LTFRB's Memorandum Circular mandating all EDSA Busway units to have left-side doors.
But given that we are still in a pandemic, Pastor said that they are also considering the financial situations of the EDSA Busway operators. With that in mind, it looks like it might take some time for the LTFRB to formulate the Memorandum Circular.
While moving the bus doors to the left is the best way to address the issue, bus operators can't just put an extra door and call it a day. Bus manufacturers would have to redesign and re-engineer the buses to have doors open not just from the right, but also on the left.
Operators could also opt to buy buses that have doors that are already on the left-hand side. However, these types of buses are typically right-hand-drive only.
The LTFRB did not say when the aforementioned Memorandum Circular will be released. But with the agency already announcing their intent, EDSA Busway operators should have buses with left-side doors ready at a moment's notice. That way, they wouldn't have to scramble to meet the possible deadline the LTFRB will impose.
Even if there is a barrier between the other lanes, exiting onto moving traffic isn't the safest thing for commuters to do. EDSA Busways users will still rather exit directly onto the island rather than on the wrong side. Hopefully, it won't take too long before the memorandum is released to make commute life easier.