MANILA, Philippines (ViaNews) – A new traffic scheme, which was claimed to solve the Metro Manila’s traffic congestion wants to prohibit that driver-only vehicles travel through any of the 23.8 km (14.8 mi) of the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the most important Highway in the Manila metropolitan area.

After the recent suspension of the Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) driver-only car ban on EDSA, Filipinos pretty much ignored the dry-run of the new traffic scheme.

The so-called High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) scheme was supposed to be fully implemented on August 23 after its weeklong dry-run. But MMDA suspended the policy implementation on Friday after a Senate resolution was released ordering an immediate suspension of the implementation.

MMDA’s general manager, Jojo Garcia, said that the new policy will be on hold until the Metro Manila Council (MMC) convenes. But the dry run still continues.

Heavy traffic on the EDSA in Makati City. Photo by: Scandi.
Heavy traffic on the EDSA in Makati City. Photo by: Scandi.

However, motorists have been ignoring the solo-driver ban after the recent suspension. Since no penalty is given to violators of the ban, it comes as no surprise that motorists fail to comply with the policy.

Garcia is also hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte will be convinced about the good impact the policy in solving the city’s traffic congestion. He added, once the President fully supports the “driver-only” ban, it would be easier to convince the public.

Reduce the volume of vehicles on roads through carpooling

Under the HOV policy, both public and private “driver-only” vehicles are prohibited to pass through EDSA during rush hours, which are from 7 AM to 10 AM and 6 PM. to 9 PM, Monday to Friday.

The traffic scheme was made to address the traffic problems in Metro Manila, but another problem arose. The public complained about the heavier traffic on alternative routes.

Garcia clarified what the MMDA promotes public engagement in carpooling. He said that what they aim for is to reduce the volume of vehicles on roads through carpooling and taking alternative roads to scatter the traffic.

2nd take of HOV policy

Last year, MMDA had already tried the HVO scheme, with no success. It failed because drivers didn’t participate in the process resulting in no conclusive data gathered.

Garcia now urged the motorists to participate in the dry-run process in order for them to gauge whether the scheme has a significant impact on the traffic flow along EDSA.

The MMDA general manager noted that the Philippines lost P 3.5 billion every day due to traffic, that’s why the problem should be addressed.

The weeklong dry-run started on August 15 together with the implementation of provincial bus ban on EDSA during rush hours.