The provincial bus ban that was to be implemented this coming August 7, 2019 has been suspended indefinitely after a Quezon City court issued a preliminary injunction.
Based on an order that was issued last July 31, 2019, Judge Caridad Walse-Lutero of the Quezon City Branch 223 granted Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas Inc.'s plea, as well as 16 other bus operators to halt the implementation of the LTFRB's Memorandum Circular No. 2019-001 and the MMDA's Regulation No. 19-002.
The court rejected the MMDA and LTFRB's assumptions that the cause of the worsening traffic conditions along EDSA was due to provincial buses and the presence of bus terminals. The court also mentioned that since a bus can carry 50 passengers, it can carry more people than 3 cars which typically only has one or two occupants.
“For the same space occupied on the road, a bus ferries more people than private vehicles, and yet one could find more of the latter traversing the roads including the national highways, EDSA being one of them. The conclusion therefore that the buses, especially the provincial buses and their terminals, are the ones causing the traffic seems to be unfounded,” the court said in the document.
Furthermore, the court also stated that while the MMDA held meetings with bus operators, the LTFRB was not present during the meetings, and that opposing bus operators were not notified and not given a chance to share their side, a violation in due process. The court also mentioned that both gov't agencies failed to present any studies which will support their claims that these type of buses cause heavy traffic along EDSA.
With the provincial bus ban set to be suspended, the MMDA will consult with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) whether the preliminary injunction also covered the dry run set this coming August 7. Meanwhile, the LTFRB is looking to appeal the court's decision that was prescribed within the 15-day period.
In review, MC No. 2019-001 bars provincial buses from passing through EDSA and requires them to stop at designated endpoints. Regulation No. 19-002, on the other hand, bans the issuance of business permits or revokes existing issued permits to provincial bus terminals along EDSA. Both the MMD and LTFRB believe that should their new policies take effect, it will greatly reduce vehicular traffic along the major thoroughfare.