MMDA Wants “Driver Only Car” Banned From EDSA

If it had its way, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is proposing a carpooling scheme in EDSA to mitigate traffic in Metro Manila.

The most controversial proposal is for cars without passengers to be banned from using EDSA. This is in line with the intention of strengthening the carpooling option, where commuters and motorists are urged to share their rides with friends to reduce vehicles plying our metropolitan roads.

MMDA is considering three traffic reduction measures after its meeting last Tuesday with its policymaking body the Metro Manila Council (MMC) consisting of 17 Metro Manila mayors. The three options are: two-day number coding, one way EDSA all the way, and carpooling.

 A scheme that combines the unified vehicular volume reduction program (UVVRP) or number coding and carpooling received the most positive impact among the local chief executives, according to MMDA Assistant General Manager for Planning Jojo Garcia.

“We are encouraging the public to avail of carpooling to reduce the vehicles passing through the major roads in Metro Manila,” Garcia said in a press conference.

The MMDA official said banning driver-only cars passing through EDSA will help people plan their trips leading to the reduction of the volume of vehicles.

Under the Modified Carpooling Policy, if a vehicle has two or more passengers, it would be exempted from the number coding and can pass through EDSA anytime.

If a vehicle has a driver and passenger, the vehicle can pass EDSA but still subject to number coding. The number coding will still be in effect for automobiles with only a driver on board and will be prohibited from traversing through EDSA.

The MMDA will still study the impact of the combined carpooling and number coding scheme.

“Chairman (Danilo) Lim does not want trial and error. Thus, we need to study this scientifically before we implement this measure,” according to Garcia.

The proposal will be presented to the MMC for its approval. Once approved, the policy would be implemented in the whole stretch of EDSA from Mondays to Fridays from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. except holidays. Heavily-tinted public and private motor vehicles will be flagged down by the MMDA traffic constables to verify the number of its occupants.

Data from the MMDA show that almost 8 out of 10 vehicles passing through EDSA have only one occupant.

The agency has earlier said the number of vehicles passing through EDSA would increase from 6,800 vehicles per direction to 7,500 vehicles in excess of its maximum capacity of 6,000 vehicles per direction. (PNA)

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