The world sat up—and applauded—when Filipinos staged the People Power Revolution in 1986, which came to be known as the Edsa Revolution. Since then, however, thanks to the increasing number of vehicles and people, the world (in a manner of speaking) is sitting through traffic on Edsa—and seething.
A 2009 survey showed that 300,000 commuters, every day, took this highway connecting mega Manila. That was two years ago. The number must have increased since then.
Edsa is an ugly stretch of infrastructure. It’s covered with soot and billboards. It’s an endless clutter. It’s the best proof how we don’t plan—or that we can’t follow either plan or rules.
But, like it or not, Edsa helps define our lifestyle for the simple reason that we can hardly lead a day without it.
Here, commuters give random but smart suggestions on how we can live—with Edsa
If you want to give a piece of your mind, post your comments on http://lifestyle.inquirer.net, or e-mail to lifestyle.inquirer @gmail.com.
I pass through Edsa five to six times a week. Since I don’t have to travel at rush hour, my ride is not very stressful. But the major problem are the bus drivers who think they own Edsa! More than improving the road or structure, change should start within ourselves by obeying traffic rules. And government should put the right person to strictly implement regulations.—Trisha Cruz-Cuason, 39, owner, Vintage Restore and Our Treasure Trove
I pass through Edsa almost every day. Bus drivers don’t follow traffic rules. They stop anywhere. There are unfinished road repairs and excavation projects which cause heavy traffic jam and accidents. Edsa has also become a billboard jungle.
Traffic decongestion should be a priority.
The government should improve the public transport system (modern mass transit rail lines/ more trains).
The public should also be notified about road work in advance, which should be finished on schedule.
And outdoor advertising must be be regulated.—Shelly Lazaro, 32, importer and distributor of beauty, health and wellness products; president, Rotary Club of Makati San Lorenzo
I go through Edsa every day. The problem with bus drivers is that there’s no discipline. I’m prone to road rage, that’s why I chose to hire a driver when I came home after living in the US for almost 20 years…
The government should regulate the number of buses. Better yet, the government should own the buses, because it would be unfair to give the bus franchise only to the top two bidders. If buses are government-owned, the government can regulate the schedules of arrival and departure, which would teach Filipinos to stick to a schedule. If the bus arrives at a certain time, people will be forced to be at the bus stop at the appointed time. —Raul Matias, chocolatier-owner of Machiavelli Chocolatier New York
I pass along Edsa almost every day. The color coding of the buses worked at the start but, for some reason, it’s back to the usual slow-moving traffic. I think all drivers, both for PUVs and private cars, must be educated about swerving, changing lanes and speed, etc.
Also, the bus stops with those cemented barriers don’t work. The lines of the lanes should be clear/repainted or even reflectorized so the vehicles don’t occupy two lanes at a time.
The roads should be smooth and without lubak.—China Cojuangco, chef
I live along Morato Street and work in Makati. I avoid Edsa except on Sundays and after midnight. I find the alternate route less stressful. I have no empirical evidence that my alternate route is faster or shorter, but nothing is more stress-inducing than looking at the rear end of cars crawling and stretching forever!
The answers are easy, but it’s the cost, political will and being hated by at least 13 million people that make any implementation of improvements worse than being on Edsa itself during a midnight-madness payday-Friday-it’s-raining day.—Marlon Rivera, filmmaker, fashion designer ad agency president
I pass through Edsa daily. When I go home at night, there are too many half-empty buses plying Edsa. They act like they own the road, they block the main intersections, and they don’t stick to their bus lanes.
There are no proper bus pick-up and drop-off points for passengers, so half of them end up on Edsa. There’s trash all over the place because we don’t have proper trash bins.
The government should lessen the number of buses on the road by cutting down on bus permits or franchises given out. It should implement pick-up and drop-off points and enforce the rules. It should place trash bins in strategic places (the type that can’t be stolen!).—Nikka Abes, corporate communications manager, Nokia Phils.
I’ve learned to accept Edsa’s many flaws and live with them, which is easy if you take the stress-free innermost lane. To make Edsa better, it all begins with all motorists taking road discipline and courtesy to heart. —Faith Fernandez Aranton, 42, Avon Philippines head of PR and communications
From my guest room window, I have a view of Edsa, which gives me enough warning to take a different route if I want to make my appointment on time.
I pass through Edsa at least once a week. So many buses are crowding the highway, and so many buses park anywhere to wait for passengers, becoming road obstructions. They also cut in and out of traffic.
There are not enough road signs, or they are not always visible. There are delinquent teenage boys opening taxis and snatching handbags. Foot bridges are so far apart. Passenger waiting areas are very narrow and unlighted, and with no overhang cover to protect people from the rain.
My suggestions: Add more road signs and improve their visibility. Assign roving patrols to deter juvenile delinquents and snatchers. Add more foot bridges and improve bus waiting areas so the passengers don’t spill out on the street.
Limit the number of buses running on Edsa, and apprehend traffic violators.
Citizens must also stop bribing traffic police to get out of a fix.
Government needs to run sting operations to stop this practice, and any traffic policeman who accepts money in lieu of giving a ticket should be terminated. —Christina Boyd, senior national sales director, Mary Kay
I get to pass through Edsa maybe only once a week, going to Makati. I normally use C5 since it is more convenient for me and there’s less traffic.
Every time I have to pass through Edsa, I feel I have to give myself time allowance because of the traffic, no matter the time of day. The buses scare me every time, too! So many undisciplined drivers; for me, they are the main cause of traffic.
More highways and alternative routes should be added. Or why not subways like in New York, plus additional trains. Or maybe, just educate and discipline the bus drivers once and for all.—Len Nepomuceno, fashion designer
I pass through Edsa about four times a week. I hate the potholes and how buses and taxis seem to stop wherever they like without regard for other cars.
The government should ensure that roads are repaired regularly, and the MMDA should be vigilant in ensuring that buses and taxis stop in their correct zones and observe a time limit in their stops.—Vicki Abary-de Leon, features editor, Philippine Tatler
I pass through Edsa at least 10 times a week. Problems: Errant buses, undisciplined drivers. Solutions: Implement motorcycle lanes, remove jeepneys along Edsa, reduce the number of buses, improve the road, add monorail or train track, and clear exit and entry points of traffic—Yoly Crisanto, Globe Telecom corporate communications head
Mass transit on C5
Traffic on Edsa is really a volume issue and can only be solved by rationalizing other routes. Best option is to put mass transit on C5, which is a parallel north-south connector for Metro Manila. Public transit plying C5 is all colorum, so a cost-effective mass transit solution (probably BRT or bus rapid transit) on C5 should be win-win solution for government, private operators and commuters.
I pass Edsa at least two to three times a week and lately traffic has been getting worse, even on weekends and holidays.—Kaye Tinga, civic volunteer
Solutions: I think the government should be extra-vigilant in making sure rules are followed. And if we are to be responsible citizens, we should not tolerate and encourage unlawful acts, but instead set a good a example.—Ronald Pineda, CEO of Folded & Hung
I go through Edsa all the time. Many of our premiere stores (Makati and Cubao as well as North Edsa, Megamall, Mall of Asia) are in the route. This is also part of my regular commute from my home in QC to our corporate office in MOA.
Problems: Buses, especially in Cubao and Guadalupe areas, have a lot to do with congestion. There are also unannounced repairs. Solutions: More public transport and alternate routes; stricter traffic rules when it comes to buses.—Millie Dizon, SM VP for marketing
I pass through Edsa every day of the week. Since I don’t drive, I always notice the new billboards. Edsa now looks like a billboard marketplace. There are just too many and some are pretty distracting. This causes some drivers to slow down, bringing about even more traffic.
Ideally, we should have a more beautiful Edsa with fewer billboards, and placed in a more streamlined way.—Sheena Dy, brand manager, Lancôme
Add MRT carriages
Unfortunately, I have to go through Edsa almost every day, twice a day. Problems: Traffic! buses, potholes, motorcycles, MMDA incidents, MMDA stalled vehicles.
Solutions: Regulate buses—there are just too many! Strictly implement the use of designated bus stops.
Also, stricter and consistent traffic rules for bus drivers and operators. Provide a more efficient mass transit system by adding carriages to the existing MRT.
Improve the quality of bus drivers. Mandate a thorough training of MMDA officers and instill in them greater discipline before they get deployed at Edsa.
Educate traffic enforcers to ensure that when they catch a traffic violator, they have to move the car to the rightmost lane and not interrogate the violator right smack in the middle of the road. Motorcycles, too, should not be allowed to ply Edsa! Introduce and encourage carpooling at peak hours, 7-9 a.m., 5-7 p.m.—Donna S. Perez, head of operations, American Express Adventure International Tours
Add traffic personnel
I go through Edsa an average of six times each week. I try to make it a point to take it outside of rush hours. Even with the recent MMDA crackdowns, the bus drivers are still reckless and uneducated on road rules. The government should improve regulations for bus operators and drivers, plus assign additional personnel to monitor them.—Erik Lacson, 42, IT consultant
I pass through Edsa at least 10 times in a week. Unruly drivers drop off or pick-up passengers at intersections, or overtake other buses that are doing exactly that, and in the process hog two, sometimes three, lanes. Choke points are, northbound: on the approach to the Shaw underpass where buses clog the service road and beyond; and again toward Cubao from Camp Crame.
There should be a stricter crackdown on colorum buses. Technology should be used to identify licensed buses.
In critical areas, install CCTV cameras that can zoom in on vehicle plates. Also, empower motorists to submit photos or videos of unruly vehicles that cut lanes.—Charisse Chuidian, hotel PR director
Edsa is not really a part of my daily route, but I pass there thrice a week going to Makati. It’s like hell, especially during rush hour. Part of the problem is the undisciplined pedestrians and motorists, especially bus drivers! Government should strictly implement traffic rules and apprehend all violators. MMDA should revive the central terminals from north to south to prevent provincial buses from entering the city.—Edwin Tuyay, 53, on-assignment photographer, Bloomberg News
I don’t take Edsa every week. It’s just too treacherous! I avoid it as much as possible because it’s such a pain to traverse it. I recently had to accompany someone in an ambulance and our only route to the hospital was Edsa on a Saturday night. Even with sirens blaring away, people were not giving way (especially the buses)! What should have been an easy patient transfer ended up a nightmare.
What should be done? It boils down to people: people in the vehicles, people directing traffic, people doing maintenance and those people trying to cross on foot (why are they trying to cross such a busy thoroughfare in the first place?).
Discipline is difficult to instill, yet it needs to be addressed. If those in charge would just follow through with plans and stay consistent, there might be some semblance of discipline on Edsa.—Bennii Obaña, musician and English teacher
Cubao to Crame
These are the problems: Undisciplined bus drivers hogging the road. MMDA/kotong cops in certain spots of the route. The traffic west-bound gets clogged in Cubao to Crame but loosens up after that, only to get clogged again at the Ortigas intersection. Snatchers who prowl the Guadalupe section during rush hour (they open your doors if unlocked and snatch whatever they can and run off).
Solutions: Reduce the number of buses; they seldom fill up anyway. Relocate all bus terminals that still operate on Edsa to smaller roads. Ban scooters.
Add green “eco walls” along the side walls of under- and overpasses. These are walls that can anchor plants to detox the polluted air there.—Alvin Uy, 45, writer
I commute to and from Shaw, from SM North. That’s 10 times a day. Commuting is hell whether on the train or on a bus or cab. Why do we bother taking a shower in the morning?
But I see that government is trying. Buses have fast lanes. Trains are also frequent but still not enough. Maybe if we provide an alternate train route to ease the Cubao choke point? A Cubao-Pasay express train route, perhaps?
Also, there are just too many people in Manila accessing Edsa. It would be nice to promote alternative areas for business.—Angie Umbac, 40, campaigns coordinator, Rainbow Rights (R-Rights)