Radial discrimination

Editorial cartoon by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2019 10:25 AM | Updated as of Jun 01 2019 10:28 AM

Radial discrimination

Despite the lack of any scientific study to back it up, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) adopted a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) regulation revoking the business permits of all public bus terminals along EDSA, claiming it would help reduce traffic on the busy highway.

The policy smacks of discrimination of the poor who have no choice but to take public transportation.

In most cities around the world, provincial buses are allowed in city centers because they discourage people from taking private cars which carry less people. Even if provincial buses are excluded from EDSA, traffic will still be heavy because there will still be thousands of private vehicles using the major thoroughfare.

In Albay Rep. Joey Salceda's petition asking the Supreme Court to stop the provincial bus ban, he cited that on a daily basis, there are an estimated 3,300 provincial buses that use EDSA compared to 12,000 city buses and over 247,000 private vehicles (2017 figures).

The only way to alleviate traffic in the metropolis is to encourage, not discourage, people from using public transportation.

Ideally, we should have efficient trains that would complement public buses and jeepneys so that commuters would prefer taking public transportation.

It's a good thing projects like the Japan-funded subway and other railways are being prioritized by the current administration, but these are big-ticket items our cities should have had a long time ago.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court can step in and stop the MMDA regulation.