Provincial bus ban now ‘voluntary’

Though effectively stymied by a Quezon City court order, the planned dry run of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ban on provincial buses from plying EDSA will be commence today — albeit on “voluntary” basis.

“The dry run is voluntary, so if bus operators will conduct it on August 7, we will be thankful for that. But if not, then there’s nothing we can do,” Pialago said, and added that the agency has pleaded with bus operators to implement the bus ban on their own, as it would not be mandatory.

At the sidelines of clearing operations in Caloocan yesterday, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim in an interview said the agency’s lawyers are studying the Quezon City Regional Trial Court’s injunction against the provincial bus ban. “We will respect the order of the court,” Lim declared.

Asked for comment if the agency harbored ill feelings toward bus operators for securing an injunction even though they committed to participate in the drill, Lim replied, “No comment.”

The Quezon city Regional Trial Court Branch 223 granted the petitioners’ injunction for failure of the MMDA to present proof that traffic along EDSA is caused by provincial buses.

Judge Caridad Walse-Lutero cited a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) study that traffic worsened due to increase in car ownership and decline in commuters riding buses and jeepneys, which could carry more people than private vehicles.

MMDA traffic czar Bong Nebrija on Saturday expressed frustration government resources are wasted in planning the dry run, calling the bus ban “dead.” — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/The STAR

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