Bayani Fernando urges revival of old bus system to solve EDSA traffic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 07:30 PM

MANILA - House Deputy Minority Leader and Marikina Rep. Bayani "BF" Fernando proposed Tuesday the revival of a system formerly implemented by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) when he was MMDA chairman.

In a privilege speech, Fernando said he believes the Organized Bus Route System (OBR) system is an effective way to solve the Metro Manila traffic crisis.

“We implemented the OBR or Organized Bus Route System in 2006 during my term as chairman of the MMDA. Though the system had downside, it is an effective strategy that will solve the traffic problem,” claimed Fernando, who served as MMDA chairman from 2001 to 2009.

"I have not seen a better alternative to it."

The former Marikina mayor recalled that under the OBR system, the MMDA designated two city bus lanes on EDSA marked A and B. 
Each lane was provided with bus stops in areas of high passenger volume. 

Fernando said these lanes were fenced off as a physical restraint to commuting public and to force drivers to pick up passengers only on designated gates. Buses were also given a limited few seconds to unload and load passengers.

“Seven bus terminals were established in the perimeter of Metro Manila and controlled by the MMDA where all buses terminate at the end of their trips to wait for their turn to be dispatched by the MMDA, timed with the number of passengers on the road,” Fernando said.

Fernando explained that provincial buses leaving Metro Manila were only allowed to run on the third lane as they are supposed to be point to point service and were not allowed to pick up passengers other than in their terminals.

Arriving provincial buses unloaded passengers in five stations under flyovers where taxis and jeepneys can take the passengers to their final destinations. The whole operations were closely monitored by the MMDA on the ground, Fernando said.

The solon claimed the positive impacts of OBR operations were:

  •  The income of buses before the OBR from 5 trips in a day can be earned in 4 trips with the OBR.
  •  Buses have higher load factors 60 to 100% full reducing the number of bus trips in a day.
  •  More earnings for the operators and drivers
  •  More order on the road. Discipline among passengers and drivers were at its best with the drivers increased income and spending less time on the road.

Fernando lamented the OBR system broke down after 3 months of implementation as unruly drivers and bribery corrupted it. He said, however, the MMDA was determined to make the system work then.

“The system worked. That is why I am proposing for the re-implementation of the OBR system,” the solon said.

Fernando stressed the improvement of bus transportation in Metro Manila is a "need" since it is "a mass transport."

“Bus is a mass transport; we need to improve it if we are to put an end to the suffering of our commuting public...” the solon stressed.