Those Who Have Less in Life Must Have More in Roads: Bus Rapid Transit and the Constitutional Basis for Public Transportation

Cite as: 61 Ateneo L.J. 741 (2017)
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The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system is one of the proposed projects included in the “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas” conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency as a solution to the ever-growing traffic problem of Metro Manila. The Cebu BRT project was the first in the country to be set for implementation.

The proposal, however, raises several constitutional questions. An essential feature of the BRT is the dedicated right-of-way for the buses. The Article proposes that that the segregation of the road right-of-way for the exclusive use of BRT: (1) can be a classified as a valid exercise of police power by the State; (2) does not violate the equal protection clause, drawing on the substantial differences between private and public vehicles; and (3) is a social justice measure pursuant to the constitutional principle to “give more in law those who have less in life.”

By way of conclusion, the Author draws parallels between the Philippines and India through the case of Nyaha Bhoomi v. GNCT of Delhi and ANR, where the Indian High Court of Delhi pronounced that the interest of the public outweighs private benefit, while, at the same time, emphasizing that “a developed country is not one where the poor own cars. It is one where the rich use public transport.”

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