MEtro Manila, August 5, 2003 By Nikko Dizon (Star)  Consistent traffic speed.

This is what the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) hopes to achieve with the organized bus dispatching system on EDSA, the agency’s latest strategy to minimize traffic jams on the major highway.

"There will be consistent traffic speed on EDSA with the organized bus dispatching system, but I can’t say how fast traffic is going to be," MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando told reporters yesterday at a press briefing.

"Instead of vehicles waiting, the passengers will be waiting. This is the concept that we are trying to develop," Fernando added.

Fernando also reminded private vehicles, to keep off the yellow lane, especially once the bus dispatching system begins second week of August.

"The yellow lane is for the exclusive use of the Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs), like taxis, FXs, and buses. But the buses will have priority. Do not overtake the buses," Fernando said.

He added that the MMDA will put stickers on the rear of buses that will remind other vehicles not to overtake.

Buses themselves should not overtake each other, Fernando added. With the organized dispatching, bus drivers would be allowed to load and unload passengers only on the yellow lane and they should not take more than 30 seconds.

The MMDA chairman urged the public to make known their comments and reactions to the latest traffic program so that the agency would know what necessary adjustments to make.

"And preclude impressions that we are doing things arbitrarily," Fernando said.

With the system, the 3,000-strong Metro Manila buses will be dispatched from different terminals based on the volume of passengers waiting for a ride.

The terminals in Southern Metro Manila are in Baclaran, Parañaque City and Alabang, Muntinlupa. In Northern Metro Manila, the terminals are in Marikina, Lagro and Novaliches in Quezon City, Letre in Malabon, and Malanday in Valenzuela.

A dispatcher would be stationed as early as 4 a.m. at dispatching points in Baclaran, Taft Estrella street, Guadalupe, Pioneer, Megamall, Robinsons, and Cubao.

The buses will have electronic number cards to identify themselves and electronic boards in the terminals will indicate what bus number will be dispatched.

MMDA Traffic Operations Center (TOC) Director Angelito Vergel de Dios said the MMDA might allow all buses to ply EDSA by midnight, when there are less vehicles on the road.

Fernando said bus operators will even earn more with the organized dispatching system and colorum buses will eventually be phased out.

Before the organized dispatching system, public utility buses often wait for passengers along EDSA and cause bottlenecks and huge traffic jams.

Moreover, the MMDA pointed out that there are many PUBs that ply EDSA even without passengers, adding to the volume of vehicles on the already congested highway.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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