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House transport panel to draw up 1-year roadmap to solve EDSA traffic — Sarmiento

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House transportation committee chair and Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento on Monday said his panel is conducting a series of consultation with all transportation stakeholders to be able to draw up a solid and viable one-year roadmap to finally solve the traffic problem along EDSA.

Sarmiento said that upon the instruction of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, he has started informal discussions with various government officials and private sector leaders to set the stage for a series of hearings that will specifically focus on how to solve the EDSA problem.

“Speaker Cayetano wants our traffic problem in EDSA to be solved within one year. EDSA’s traffic problem is causing too much economic losses for the government and for our people on a daily basis,” Sarmiento said.

He noted that based on estimates by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the country is losing at least P3.5 billion a day due to the EDSA’s traffic problem.

“What happened last week, unless otherwise we do something about it, will definitely happen again. We are not only considering the economic losses brought about by the traffic but most importantly the inconvenience it brought to the lives of the riding public,” Sarmiento said.

He said there is a need to seriously look at proposals to consolidate the franchise of all Metro Manila bus companies for us to enable to apply a synchronized dispatch system in EDSA.

Sarmiento said that there are way too many bus units in EDSA and “most of the time, especially during off peak hours, their load factor are less than 50% which makes them inefficient in the use of road space.”

“These 3,000 to 4,000 city buses are being operated by 200 different franchises or two dozen or more operators or owners. These buses compete with each other creating chaos. Overtaking, overspeeding, overstaying and all other the road inefficiencies because of this mob rule,” Sarmiento noted.

The “kanya-kanya” system of these city bus operators, Sarmiento said, makes it impossible for the government to create a centralized and synchronized dispatching system.

“There is no centralized dispatching system to make their headway systematic and efficient. With consolidated operations, there will be less traffic on off-peak hours as there will be lesser buses to be dispatched,” Sarmiento said.

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