HPG: Cubao to Makati in 5 minutes doable as EDSA buses are sorted out

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24) — Plucking bus terminals off Metro Manila's busiest road could be the key to fulfilling President Rodrigo Duterte's promise of a five-minute ride from Cubao to Makati, the chief of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) said.

Breezy traffic flow along the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) isn't that impossible after all, Philippine National Police-HPG Director Roberto Fajardo said on Monday.

"'Yung bus lane will be strictly enforced, 'yung mga terminals sa loob ng EDSA will be removed," Fajardo said when asked about plans to ease traffic congestion in Manila. "Hindi ipapagamit 'yung, makikita niyo 'yung motorcycle lane sa bus lane 'di ba? Imo-move natin ito sa pangatlong lane."

[Translation: The bus lane will be strictly enforced, while the terminals along EDSA will be removed. We won't allow motorcycles to use the bus lane; we will move it to the third lane.]

Earlier this month, Duterte revealed that the horrendous EDSA traffic will be "smooth-sailing" come December. Malacañang has been coy about revealing any concrete plans, with Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo saying that Duterte had something up his sleeve as a solution.

Still, Dr. Primitivo Cal of the University of the Philippines Planning and Development Research Foundation said it was an unrealistic goal, as a driver will need to hit a speed of at least 120 kilometers per hour (kph) from Kamuning in Quezon City to reach Chino Roces Avenue in Makati in five minutes.

Even Metropolitan Manila Development Authority traffic manager Bong Nebrija has admitted that the target was "mathematically impossible" given the speed limit of 60 kph. Nebrija said it would only be doable if the clock starts at Main Avenue and ends in Guadalupe — the closest point in Makati — representing a stretch of 5.5 kilometers.

READ: MMDA bares realistic target for Cubao-Makati ride

Both the HPG and MMDA are counting on drastic measures to ease EDSA traffic, with public buses often singled out.

Nebrija earlier described bus terminals along EDSA as "traffic generators," as taxis, private cars, and public utility vehicles often gather in front of these bays and block portions of the road.

For the HPG, Fajardo said they are also eyeing the stricter use of the bus lanes along EDSA by limiting them to the two rightmost lanes.

The plan to shut down all bus terminals along EDSA and to ban provincial buses from entering the city have been put on hold as authorities iron out its implementation. These proposals have earned opposition from commuters' groups and even lawmakers, who called the reforms anti-poor. Three complaints have been filed against the measure before the Supreme Court.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Makoi Popioco contributed to this report.