Traffic > Safety

DOTr is looking into possible sabotage in buses hitting EDSA barriers

Is this just a ploy to pass the blame, or is there merit to it?

DOTr says the cement barriers on EDSA are not to blame as they are stationary. PHOTO BY RAYMOND CUTARAN

If you’ve been browsing your news feed on Facebook these past few days, chances are you’ve seen at least one video showing a speeding bus hitting a concrete barrier on EDSA and flinging it in the path of other vehicles traveling outside the bus lane. There have actually been three such viral videos already, the latest of which was shared on our Facebook page.

In the comments, people are upset that this is happening, and many agree that the cement slabs are dangerous. Which explains why the lane next to the busway route is currently being avoided by motorists. Obviously, our transport authorities need to step in and do something about it.

Apparently, both the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board have been working overtime to investigate the incidents and penalize the erring parties. But more than levying fines upon reckless bus drivers, the authorities must be wondering: Why are these accidents happening in quick succession of late?

We received a message from Goddes Hope Oliveros-Libiran, DOTr’s head of communications and commuter affairs:

Assuming the tip is legit, what could the motive be?

“Perhaps to discredit the program and hit the consortium,” the DOTr assistant secretary said. “We were warned by an official from another transport agency. We’re still tracing.”

The transport official proceeded to point out that the bus lane’s width conforms to international standards of 3.2m to 3.5m, which is “safe for buses traveling at up to 60km/h.”

She continued:

Pero kahit gawin mong 5m to 10m ’yan, kung nuknukan naman ng pagka-pasaway at barubal ang bus driver, babangga pa rin sa barrier ’yan. Tingnan ninyo ha: May mahigit 300 buses tayong bumibiyahe sa EDSA Busway araw-araw. Ipagpalagay na natin na 100 buses. Umiikot ’yan on an average of 5-6 trips sa EDSA Busway per day. That’s more or less 36,000 trips in two months. Sa dalawang buwan, less than 10 recorded incidents ang nai-report sa atin involving buses and barriers. Bakit naman ’yung 99.9%, hindi naaaksidente? Bakit naman ’yung iba, napakaingat? Bakit naman karamihan, may disiplina? Huwag ninyong isisi sa barrier. Hindi gumagalaw ang mga ’yan unless banggain. Hindi sila ang problema. Ang problema ay nasa mga driver na walang disiplina.

There you go. Would anyone really go this far to make the government look bad? Is this a legitimate conspiracy or simply a ruse to shift the blame? What do you think?

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.