MMDA to ban driver-only cars on EDSA during rush hour
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – In a bid to decongest EDSA, Metro Manila mayors agreed to ban driver-only cars from the major thoroughfare during rush hour.
The Metro Manila Council, composed of Metro Manila mayors, approved the proposal on Tuesday, August 7.
This means that only vehicles with two or more passengers would be allowed on EDSA during rush hour under the new rule, though there is still no set implementation date.
Last year, the council floated the idea of banning driver-only cars from using the high-occupany vehicle (HOV) lane – the lane nearest to the center island. With the new policy in place, all lanes in EDSA are HOV lanes.
According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia, 70% of vehicles on EDSA have only one passenger – the driver.
He said that guidelines on the new policy will be crafted following its approval. A dry-run will also be done prior to full implementation.
The council also approved banning provincial buses from plying EDSA.
The ban was supposed to take effect in July, but Garcia said they are still "contemplating" on whether the ban would push through on August 15, pending the completion of the government-owned provincial bus terminal in Valenzuela City.
"[W]e have to fix some facilities and other infrastructure at the Valenzuela interim terminal. We are not in a hurry to implement the policy as we want to make sure everything is in order," Garcia told reporters in a media interview on Tuesday.
Under the new policy, provincial buses coming from the South that do not have terminals in Pasay City are advised to use the government's Southwest Interim Provincial Terminal along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard.
Meanwhile, buses coming north of Metro Manila will have to use the Valenzuela terminal instead of their terminals in Cubao.
Poe: 'Don't be hasty'
Senate public services committee chair Grace Poe cautioned the MMDA against the hasty implementation of the scheme. She said the agency should first conduct a dry run and then issue a clear set of guidelines.
Poe added that inner roads should be first cleared of illegally parked vehicles and structures to ensure smoother traffic flow.
“Huwag padalos-dalos. Baka puwedeng magkaroon ng isang araw na subukan nila yan kung ano ang mangyayari at magkaroon ng bukas na pagdinig. Kasi hindi puwedeng unilateral at sasabihing ‘o ngayon ganito na.’ Magkaroon muna ng trial period tapos tingnan natin kung ito ba’y magiging epektibo,” Poe told reporters on Wednesday, August 8.
(Don’t do it in a rush. Maybe they could have a day to test it and then have a public hearing on the matter. It should not be done unilaterally. There should be a trial period first.) – With a report from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com