MANILA - Provincial buses have been allowed to ply EDSA starting last Thursday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Saturday, as COVID-19 restrictions in Metro Manila have been eased.
MMDA Chairman Romando Artes told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo that provincial buses are allowed in the major thoroughfare between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., following a series of consultations with stakeholders and bus operators.
Artes said they chose the window hours to prevent provincial buses from adding to the volume of vehicles in EDSA.
"Hindi naman siya nakaapekto sa daloy ng traffic dahil gabi naman. Ang traffic talaga, lalong-lalo, sa hapon ay between 5 to 8 p.m. Sa mga oras na 'yan, may number coding scheme... Kaya minabuti natin na payagan ang mga buses after 10 o'clock ng gabi," he said.
A two-week dry run is currently in place to assess the new policy, said Artes. MMDA will regroup with bus operators after a week to discuss how this could be improved, the official added.
On Friday, MMDA Director Neomie Recio said the first day of the implementation did not make a great impact on EDSA's traffic.
In a public briefing, Recio said the volume of vehicles plying major thoroughfares in Metro Manila has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The official noted that in 2019, the MMDA recorded some 405,000 vehicles on average in a day that are using the region's major road. On Thursday, the MMDA only recorded 377,000, she said.
Artes said that the pre-pandemic average speed of vehicles on EDSA was at 11-13 kilometers per hour. Currently, it is at 21 kph.