Metro Manila is heading into General Community Quarantine starting June 1. While public transportation will somewhat be allowed to resume operations, buses and jeepneys will still be unavailable for commuters until June 21.
It seems that the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has some plans for buses, though. According to MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia, buses will have to take the 2 left-most lanes of EDSA once quarantine measures are lifted (read: this coming Monday). What we currently know as the “Yellow Lanes” or the two right-most lanes of EDSA will no longer be for buses starting next week.
“Yung mga bus po natin, ilalagay sa left side at dalawang lanes sila. Lalagyan natin ng barrier ‘yan para at least mawala na sa bangketa ang tao at ‘yung ating loading and unloading lanes ay dedicated na talaga para hindi na sa kalsada nagsasakay at nagbababa,” Garcia was quoted as saying in an interview.
(“Buses will take the two left-most lanes of EDSA. Barriers will be put in place to prevent people from crowding sidewalks, while dedicated loading and unloading zones will also be established so commuters won’t ride or alight along the highway.”)
How does the MMDA plan to do this, then? Sixteen (16) bus stops have already been determined along the entire length of EDSA, and the said bus stops are stations of the MRT-3. At the said stations, buses will be allowed to load and unload their passengers via the center island of EDSA. Physical distancing measures will be enforced at the stations, and commuters can use the footbridges to get to either side of EDSA.
“We will also construct footbridges pag wala [ang] (if there are none for the) MRT station,” Garcia remarked. Also according to Garcia, this system will also allow the faster travel of buses along Edsa.
The fact that buses and jeepneys may not be allowed to operate follows the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council (MMC). Composed of 17 mayors of Metro Manila, the Council was unanimous in not allowing both means of public transportation. On the other hand, and while the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases agrees with the status for jeepneys, they recommended that buses be allowed, albeit at 50% capacity according to Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano.
With the fate of city buses now clear, it’s nice to know that plans have been set in motion to provide the best and safest options for the commuting Filipinos in Metro Manila.