The chairman of the House Committee on Transportation on Saturday called on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to require city buses plying the EDSA carousel lane to be equipped with speed limiters to avoid accidents as a result of overspeeding.
Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, the panel’s chairperson, reminded LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra and the LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante that the installation of speed limiters on all public utility buses is required not only because of the new bus set-up on EDSA but because it is provided under Republic Act 10916 or the Speed Limiter Law of 2016.
Under RA 10916, Sarmiento said selected public-utility vehicles (PUV), except for taxis, jeepneys and so-called Transportation Network Vehicles (TNVs), closed commercial vans, cargo haulers, tanker trucks, and company shuttles, are required to be equipped with speed limiter devices.
He lamented that the four-year-old Speed Limiter Law has become a veritable “paper tiger” because government agencies tasked to implement it are not exercising their mandate provided by legislation.
Sarmiento made the appeal to Galvante in a motu propio hearing conducted by his panel last Thursday even as Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia insisted during the committee’s Zoom hearing there is nothing wrong with the barriers installed to separate the bus carousel lane from the other vehicle lanes.
Garcia said there is no one to blame for the accidents involving buses in the carousel lanes but the bus drivers themselves, who go beyond the maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour.
Out of the 25,000 trips made by the buses so far, Garcia said only six accidents were recorded inside the bus carousel lane.
Sarmiento said the MMDA’s admission on overspeeding should prompt the LTFRB and the LTO to begin implementing RA 10916 to initially cover EDSA buses.
He said there is no need to immediately require bus companies to install electronic speed limiters because a simple mechanical contraption to limit acceleration should already suffice. He said this can be fastened under the pedal to limit acceleration.
“There is an existing law, itong RA 10916, we hope the LTFRB will be able to come up with a timeline on when to implement it. The chair would like to suggest to start first with EDSA ang speed limiter natin. We might not have the device at the moment but so as not to come up with an additional burden to the different bus companies, pwede naman siguro nating gawan muna ng manual speed limiter,” Sarmiento said.
As an extra measure, the MMDA should make sure that the entire stretch of the EDSA carousel is no less than 3.5 meters in width to ensure it is wide enough for buses to safely pass through, the solon added.