MANILA - The government should consider the privatization of the EDSA Busway System to hasten its development and ease the burden of the commuting public, several business groups said on Thursday.
The EDSA Busway System was introduced in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also a "low-hanging fruit" to implement more private sector participation through public-private partnerships, the groups said in a joint statement.
"To expeditiously carry this work-in-progress project forward to its completion in accordance with global standards, as laudably committed by Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, we strongly urge and fully support its privatization, conformably with PPP process and under concession terms beneficial to all concerned," the statement said.
"We urge the government to immediately implement the privatization of the EDSA Busway System," it added.
The EDSA busway carried an average of 325,000 passengers daily in August with 550 buses, down from EDSA's pre-pandemic count of 3,300 units, the groups said citing data from the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
While the busway system has produced "impressive gains" there are a lot of opportunities for the government to upgrade with the help of the private sector, they said.
"It is high time that the government and the private sector join hands to provide the critical components that are needed to complete the Busway System --- and finally put an end to the daily scenario in which thousands of commuters wait in long queues in overcrowded stations while enduring unnecessary pains and hardships," the groups said.
"Our commuters and our country deserve a Busway System that is at par with comparable systems in other countries," the statement said.
This comes after an MRT-3 glitch on Oct. 5 left many commuters stranded for hours with very limited alternative, including the EDSA busway system.