METRO MANILA, August 12, 2003 (STAR) By Nikko Dizon  - Some 175 public utility buses (PUBs) and 30 private vehicles were apprehended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday for violation of the "yellow lane" traffic scheme on EDSA.

The figure represented vehicles caught as of 2 p.m. yesterday. The violators were fined P300 each and their licenses were confiscated, MMDA Traffic Operations Executive Director Angelito Vergel de Dios said.

Vergel de Dios said the PUBs were caught on the lane devoted to private vehicles, while the private vehicles were caught on the yellow lane, which is for the exclusive use of the PUBs.

The MMDA decided to re-implement the yellow lane scheme, which started yesterday, to ease traffic on EDSA.

Vergel de Dios said the scheme was actually created when lawyer Oscar Orbos was the Transportation and Communications secretary during the Aquino administration in the late í80s.

"Mr. Orbos implemented this scheme with the objective of making the yellow lane faster for PUVs because they transport more people," Vergel de Dios explained.

However, traffic authorities became lenient in the implementation of the scheme following the construction of the flyovers on EDSA and the MRT line.

"There wasnít enough space for all the vehicles because of the construction equipment on the road," Vergel de Dios said.

But with no more construction being done and the monstrous traffic on EDSA becoming every motoristís nightmare, the MMDA decided to have another go at the yellow lane scheme.

The two outermost lanes are now the yellow lanes, devoted to PUVs, particularly the buses.

The third lane would be for provincial buses with point-to-point service.

The MMDA said private vehicles can use the yellow lane only when they are 30 meters away from the intersection they intend to enter.

Private vehicles must follow the yellow arrows and broken lines on the road, which indicate when they can transfer to the yellow lane.

The MMDA will put stickers on the rear of the buses to remind private vehicles that they are not allowed on the yellow lane.

Vergel de Dios said PUBs are still allowed to use the flyovers on EDSA until the organized bus route, another MMDA traffic scheme, is implemented next week.

"Some of the portions of EDSA where the yellow lanes are placed, are really narrow, like in Santolan and Ortigas. For now, the buses would be allowed to use the flyovers. But they should refrain from doing this once we implement the organized bus route or single bus dispatching system," Vergel de Dios said.

While they have priority on the yellow lane, PUBs should not overtake each other, the MMDA said.

FX taxis and regular cabs can load and unload on the yellow lane but should not turn it into a terminal.

Taxis are also allowed on the lane for private vehicles, Vergel de Dios said.

"They have more flexibility unlike buses because their passengers hire them for their exclusive use," he said.

Nevertheless, Vergel de Dios warned taxis against waiting for passengers on MRT stops, particularly in the Quezon Avenue station.

For a second offense of the scheme, violators will be fined P1,000 and a third offense will result to a suspension of the driverís license.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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