MANILA, Philippines - The decision of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to indefinitely bar passenger buses and trucks from using EDSA’s flyovers, tunnels and underpasses triggered a traffic gridlock along the highway on Monday.
According to the MMDA’s Metrobase, as of 2 pm yesterday, traffic was still crawling on EDSA’s southbound lanes from Scout Borromeo in Quezon City to the Ortigas Service Road in Mandaluyong.
The MMDA’s Metrobase admitted that the traffic buildup was caused by the large number of buses that have been barred from using the flyovers and underpasses of EDSA and are now jostling for space along with private and other vehicles.
On Monday morning, traffic was also thick and crawling from the EDSA-Roosevelt area to Quezon Avenue. The MMDA’s directive became effective on Sunday.
Also badly affected by the gridlock was the section of EDSA and Quezon Avenue underneath the Quezon Avenue flyover, where jeepneys coming from Quiapo going to Fairview cross towards the Quezon Memorial Circle.
“Traffic was really bad. I had to get off the jeepney and walk to the Metrorail Rail Transit (MRT) Quezon Avenue station. The problem is that the jeepneys are now fighting for space with the buses which are supposed to have been using the flyovers. Maganda sana ang plano nang MMDA pero nagging pahirap sa mga tao. Para saan pa ang mga flyovers nayan?” said Francis Wakefield, a newspaper reporter.
Before the directive was issued, non-airconditioned buses or “ordinary” buses were allowed to use EDSA’s flyovers.
The MMDA however decided to bar all buses and trucks from using EDSA’s underpasses and flyovers following a string of accidents.
Last Sunday, two people were killed and two others hurt in a three-vehicle smashup at the Shaw Boulevard tunnel in Mandaluyong City.
Emmanuel Tolentino, an employee of the Safecon Enterprise; and Jose Porlaje Jr., a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, were killed in the accident.
Police said Tolentino was driving a silver Toyota FX (EVP-789) and was about to enter the underpass at about 6 a.m. when it was rear-ended by a Hyundai Tucson driven by Daniel Joseph Pineda, 21.
Because of the impact, Tolentino lost control of the FX, which swerved to the other side and was rammed by a Bataan Transit Bus (PJQ 911) driven by Rudy Tibayan. The FX was dragged for several meters before it came to a complete stop, witnesses said.
Immediately following the incident, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino issued the order banning buses and trucks from using EDSA’s flyovers and underpasses.
“What happened is proof that (bus drivers) should not ply through the tunnels,” he said.
Tolentino noted that there were about 10 passengers in the Bataan Transit bus when the accident happened. He added that government should also cancel the license of reckless drivers, saying there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the government from doing so.