Home The Nation Edsa Carousel: Promising, but government needs to study and invest more

[EXPLAINER | Transportation] Edsa Carousel: Promising, but government needs to study and invest more

At its height, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic shut down public transportation in the Philippines.  

As restrictions loosened, a transport consortium implemented the EDSA Carousel, a dedicated busway spanning the length of the MRT Line 3 along the main thoroughfare of Metro Manila, a city notorious for traffic congestion. 

With people reporting back to office, commuter demand for the busway has shot up. 

Primo V. Morillo, convener of The Passenger Forum, explains what government needs to do to enhance the EDSA Carousel bus service and ease public transport woes. 


Invest in the busway and bike lanes so they will not just be ‘pop-up projects.’

The EDSA busway and dedicated bike lanes are able to cater to commuters who take a bus or ride a bicycle, but the government must still allocate a decent budget for them. 

“We think those are two things that are promising, but we need to further invest in it,” said Mr. Morillo. “The EDSA busway, for example: we really need to ensure that we streamline the process [of] how to pay the service contractors.” 

Bus operations tend to be problematic with contractors not plying routes because they’re not paid, he said. This then reduces the number of buses on the road, increasing commuters’ waiting time. Even a subsidy for procurement of better buses would help. 

Similarly, the bike lanes should not just be a “pop-up project” — it’s good that they exist, but infrastructure and policies should also be pedestrian- and bike-friendly, he added. 

Maximize bus stations to accommodate the large number of commuters.

Given the metro’s heavy commute traffic, the bus stops that were put up along with the bus rapid transit system have proven insufficient. 

“They just used the stations of the MRT, and some of the stations that do not use the MRT stations are even worse. We need to make the stations look like a real station. It needs a waiting area and it needs ample space for people,” Mr. Morillo said.  

He specified that, in order to maximize it and make it work better for commuters, the state will have to invest in it. Both bus terminals and bus stations have to be improved. 

Reorient the transport policy to focus on moving people rather than cars.

The Passenger Forum’s assessment of Metro Manila’s urban planning and Philippine transport policy in general is that it’s car-centric. 

“It prioritizes moving cars rather than moving people. It prioritizes road widening, highways, and even skyways (elevated expressways), rather than trains, additional train lines, sidewalks, and bike lanes,” said Mr. Morillo. 

For ordinary people to easily travel in the city, infrastructure and policy must change.  

“Now, it seems that the policy is that if you find it hard, just buy a car, because we are making it easier for those who have cars,” he added. 

Interview and text: Brontë H. Lacsamana
Videography: Earl R. Lagundino and Joseph Emmanuel L. Garcia
Video editing: Earl R. Lagundino

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