Provincial bus ban on EDSA bad for workers: labor group

MANILA — A labor group on Thursday urged the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to suspend the ban on provincial buses along EDSA during rush hour, citing its bad effects on workers.

“The implementation of the ban of provincial buses is counterproductive, inconvenient, expensive, and stressful for thousands of workers,” said Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay in a statement.

The labor group’s remarks came following unfavorable reactions from the people, noting that the scheme is also disadvantageous to working people who reside in nearby provinces outside Metro Manila.

“We were inundated with negative feedbacks from working people residing in Northern Luzon and Calabarzon region but working in Metro Manila upon the implementation of the traffic decongestion scheme yesterday. We are therefore calling for the temporary suspension of the scheme because this system proves to be more expensive, inconvenient and stressful for workers commuting to and from work,” Tanjusay added.

He reported that workers have to shell out additional cash for fare aside from their usual expenses to be able to reach their offices.

“Initial observation from workers showed employees living in Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna spent PHP24 to PHP36 more out of their meagre minimum wage on top of their usual transportation routine expenses,” the ALU-TUCP official said.

“Aside from additional expenses, the provincial bus rush hour ban along EDSA also caused many employees to arrive late, causing salary and paid leave deductions,” he added.

At the same time, Tanjusay believed that the scheme needs further study.

“The banning of provincial buses along Edsa during rush hours needs obviously needs time and motion study. It also needs more public consultations with workers involved. It also needs improvement of effective mass transport infrastructures because we are dealing with workers who need to be on time in their places of work,” Tanjusay said.

“We cannot disregard the additional amount of stress the ban causes to workers’ health on top of the already existing stress caused by the daily hassle caused by prevailing difficult and problematic mass transport system imposed upon workers. It also impacts the productivity of province-based Metro workers,” he added.

On Wednesday, the MMDA started implementing the ban on provincial buses along the major thoroughfare from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The new scheme aims to help reduce traffic congestion along the highway.