MMDA not blinking on EDSA ban
By Nelson S. Badilla
Single-occupancy vehicles off-limits during rush hour
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will not be pressured by public criticisms into forgoing its expanded High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic scheme along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia yesterday said they will push through with a one-week dry run starting 15 August before implementing the ban on passenger-less vehicles along EDSA during rush hour.
Under the scheme, vehicles with only their respective drivers aboard will be flagged by traffic enforcers. MMDA said the policy will encourage car pooling.
The start of the HOV dry-run coincides with the ban on provincial buses traversing EDSA during rush hours, 7 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.
The agency will determine through the dry-run the problems that may crop-up due to the implementation of the HOV plan.
“Let us see for one week how the HOV scheme will work. We are calling on the participation of the public,” Garcia said.
With the ban on provincial buses and the HOV plan, traffic flow along EDSA is expected to ease starting this week, according to Garcia.
MMDA’s traffic simulation showed the HOV scheme will reduce vehicle volume along EDSA by at least 40 percent.
About 360,000 vehicles pass through EDSA daily, according to data culled by the agency in 2017. Of this figure, about 240,000 or 65 percent are private motor vehicles.
The MMDA said 60 to 70 percent of the private motor vehicles along EDSA are single-occupancy vehicles or an average of 148,516 to 185,645 in actual vehicles per day.
Garcia admitted that the ban will congest other major thoroughfares and inner roads when the HOV measure is finally implemented.
He, however, stressed they “had been relentless in clearing secondary roads and alternate routes every day but we can only do so much.”
The MMDA chief said they will make use of the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) in counting the vehicles that will comply or violate the HOV measure during the dry run.
NCAP utilizes closed circuit television cameras in monitoring and catching traffic violators.
Garcia admitted the scheme is a “short-term solution to Metro Manila’s traffic problems amid the ongoing projects along EDSA and elsewhere.”
The HOV scheme was approved on 7 August by the Metro Manila Council headed by Quezon city Mayor Herbert Bautista.
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