Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian on Monday filed a resolution to probe into the urgent implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along major roads in Metro Manila amid the rising costs of heavy traffic on the economy and the environment.
Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, has expressed concern over the status of the public transport in the capital in his House Resolution No. 2399, which directs his committee and that on transportation to conduct a joint inquiry on the matter.
The present modes of public transportation, said Gatchalian, “mostly defy the quality of fast travel, reliability, safety and convenience, hence, the propensity to use private vehicles instead which increases the volume of traffic flow in the streets.”
Gatchalian moved for the speedy implementation of BRTs, saying it will help ease commuter’s woes as well as decongest heavy traffic in key thoroughfares in Metro Manila.
“BRTs in Metro Manila will allow faster and more efficient mass public travel and improved traffic flow as it is expected to reduce private car use because of the availability of an efficient alternative, thereby relieving traffic congestion of streets,” Gatchalian said in his resolution.
The Valenzuela City lawmaker added: “BRTs are expected to utilize exclusive right-of-way lanes, promote efficient boarding and alighting of passengers, institute pre-board fare collection and high quality buses which shall attract more urban dwellers to commute via public transport.”
While commuters in Metro Manila have yet to find any sign of relief from road congestion, those in Cebu look forward to the operation in 2017 of their very own BRT, as financed by the World Bank under its Clean Technology Fund.
Gatchalian said it was during the time of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando that the operationalization of the BRT system in Metro Manila was first planned in anticipation of the possible traffic congestion in EDSA as early as 2009.
In 2008, Chairman Fernando and Gatchalian, in his capacity as then Valenzuela City mayor, personally observed the Transmilenio BRTsystem in Bogota, Colombia, whose success inspired many cities to build their own BRTs.
Gatchalian pointed out that having such an alternative system is crucial as road congestion already costs Asian economies around two to five percent of their GDP yearly because of lost time and higher transport costs, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). (Monica Cantilero)