Why the Manila Bus Ban was a Practical and Ingenious Move

Erap Estrada

On June 16, 2013, former President of the Philippines and Manila City Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada passed the Manila Traffic Management Committee Resolution No. 1, or what is now commonly known as The Manila Bus Ban.

This enactment aims to alleviate the traffic conditions within the city by specifically regulating buses that have no franchises and those that have no terminals in the city.

Buses have gained notoriety for their drivers, who supposedly stop in the corner of a street in certain areas of Manila to load and unload passengers. A 30-second stop may seem insignificant at first, but the collection of buses crawling their way through the streets of Manila result in hours of idle time. At this slow, boring rate, how will the good people of the Philippines reach their targeted restaurant, workplace, radiator shop, and favorite aerobics studio in time?

While there have been strong opinions against implementation of this new regulation from commuters, bus drivers and owners, The Bus Ban does make sense on several levels, especially in the Philippines, where traffic regulations are often identified as mere suggestions.

Traffic Caused by Buses

Firstly, the ban is the first step in easing the traffic condition in Manila, one of the nation’s most car-congested areas. According to reports, this is only the beginning. They will also include video surveillance, a sticker and numbering system, and designated drop-off and loading points within the city in the future. Not only will this de-congest the streets of Manila for the benefit of pedestrians and other drivers, but it will also establish better organization on the part of the city officials from the grassroots.

This move also promotes much needed road courtesy. As a driver, I greatly dislike public utility vehicles (PUVs) when they suddenly stop in the middle of the road to take in or alight passengers. This is a very common practice amongst the majority of the PUVs in the Philippines, one that is highly disrespectful and insensitive to other drivers who need to get to their destination. The bus ban, aside from reducing congestion, will also prevent unnecessary vehicular and pedestrian accidents on the road.

The Manila Bus Ban

Another reason why this regulation is very practical and ingenious is because it also allows traffic officials to catch colorum buses and those that operate without a franchise from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). It instills a sense of law and order among bus operators to at least get legit franchises from the LTFRB or put up a terminal in Manila to allow them to ply the routes within Manila.

But the greatest positive of The Manila Bus Ban is that it shows the fortitude of a politician to follow through with an act he/she passed. Amidst the negative feedback and threats he has received from several bus operators, Erap has still pushed for this bus ban to be complied with. “’Wag niyo lang subukan.” were his words to those who seemed adamant to defy the new traffic plan.

Undoubtedly, this is an example to be followed. A politician like Erap focused on the quintessential problem in the Philippines: traffic. There are many other highways that could use a similar plan to alleviate traffic conditions (EDSA and Roxas Boulevard, to name a few). When The Manila Bus Ban becomes the great success it is destined to be, I can’t wait to hear about an EDSA, Quezon City, and even a Makati Bus Ban. In the end, this is something that will greatly benefit our nation.

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