ASIDE from reimplementing the Cory-era odd-even traffic scheme, government planners are also mulling over the return of double-decker buses in a bid to put order to the chaotic transport system in Metro Manila (National Capital Region or NCR).
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Monday revealed that the idea popped up during consultation meetings prior to the deployment of Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) policemen on Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (EDSA).
“[This] option has been presented [but]the DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communications] prefers [the]bus rapid transit [BRT] system,” Coloma said in a text message to The Manila Times.
The BRT system, which was pilot-tested along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, is being set up in Metro Cebu.
Coloma, a DOTC undersecretary in the first Aquino administration, however, clarified that they remain open to the double-decker bus idea and that it has not yet been junked as an option to ease traffic around the National Capital Region.
Double-decker buses are mass transit buses that have two stories or decks. The red double-decker is an iconic symbol of the United Kingdom.
An open top version of the double-deckers used to take tourists and local promenaders on a sightseeing joyride from the Luneta (Rizal Park in Manila) to then traffic-free Roxas Boulevard in the 1960s up to the late 1980s. The buses were known as the Matorco–the acronym of its operator, the Manila Touring Co.
In the early 1980s, the state-run Metro Manila Transit Corp. added double-decker buses to its fleet of air-conditioned “Love Buses” that plied the EDSA route.
Major cities around the world–including Third World countries like Bangladesh– use double-deckers to serve the twin purposes of easing road congestion and promoting tourism.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member Ariel Inton said they still seriously consider the use of double-deckers since one unit has the capacity of two buses.
“Double deckers will save road space and increase passenger capacity. And it will make travel enjoyable,” Inton told The Manila Times.
When asked to react to Coloma’s claims that the DOTC prefers a BRT system, he said both programs can be adopted and will probably work.
“I see no conflict between the two. We can have both. We can use double-deckers and make sure that they are deployed rapidly in the same manner that ordinary buses are required to unload and load passengers within a 30-second time frame,” the LTFRB official explained.