MANILA, Philippines - It will now take nearly two hours for commuters to travel from North Avenue in Quezon City to Ayala Avenue in Makati City two days after the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) strictly implemented the yellow bus lanes along EDSA.
This was experienced first hand by an ABS-CBN News crew, who travelled and documented their journey from North Avenue bus terminal around 10:30 on Tuesday morning.
The bus where the news crew was seated arrived at Ayala Avenue at exactly 12:15 noon, or roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes after taking off from North Avenue.
The distance is no more than 15 kilometers, which means buses were moving at a speed of roughly nine kilometers per hour.
After taking off from North Avenue, it took about 45 minutes to reach Cubao area, and another 45 minutes to reach Guadalupe Area in Makati. Buses were moving at a snail’s pace along Cubao, Santolan, Ortigas, and EDSA Crossing sections.
Since buses were restricted inside yellow lanes, they had no choice but to wait for the other buses in front to finish loading and unloading.
This was the observation of some passengers like Mark Anthony Rodolos. He said, "mas lalong sumisikip ang daan, kasi obligado yung ibang sasakyan huminto, mas lalong tuma-traffic, hinihintay na maka-andar yung nasa harapan.”
The yellow bus line is indeed filled with buses, both city-wide and provincial. The news team saw some buses with a number of empty seats, but continue to ply their route despite tremendous traffic.
It has been quite a practice for drivers to really converge in a small section of EDSA where passengers commonly wait at the same time.
MMDA enforcers were all around the yellow lanes, waving to drivers to strictly follow the rule. Unlike yesterday, there are now few buses that crossed over the yellow lane and took the tunnels and flyovers, where they are now strictly prohibited.
The passengers, on the other hand, have no choice but to wait.
Some of them had used the time to sleep inside the bus. They said they chose to ride in the bus instead of taking the Metro Rail Transit or MRT simply because the queues there were too long.
Passenger Evangeline Pascual said, "sa MRT, haba ng pila kaya nag-bus na lang kami.”
Another, Arnold Bambalan, said: "Mas lalong mahirap pagka-MRT, mas lalong maraming tao, mas komportable ako sa bus.”
Bambalan is from Nueva Ecija. Since he has transactions in Manila for his work abroad, he admitted that taking a bus is indeed longer in travel time than riding the MRT. Still, Bambalan said there is more convenience in the bus.
Some passengers, however, have no other recourse but to sacrifice for the inconveniences of travelling by bus. Aside from the longer travel time between their origin and destination, passengers also have to contend with the many "stops".
Passenger Rudy Lex Comilang said, "Patigil-tigil, napapansin ko pag konti laman ng bus as soon as possible kailangan nila magpuno ng tao." Another passenger, Reizza Alfad, said, "masasabi kong sumasakit ulo ko, pero ok na rin po kaysa maghintay sa MRT kasi ganun din katagal, siksikan din".
Bus conductor Rosalio Atim said, however, that more and more of their passengers are riding the MRT because of the traffic situation. He said, “noong isang lingo, gusto pa refund kasi traffic daw, gusto ibalik namin pamasahe nila sabi ko traffic talaga, ginawa bumaba nag-MRT na lang."
Bus driver Eleazar Abis said their earnings are also affected. He said, "Dati umiikot kami, apat na oras lang, ngayon anim na oras na ang ikot."