MMDA: Dry-run for driver-only ban on Edsa resumes Aug. 27 as talks pend

THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Sunday reminded motorists that the dry run of the Expanded High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)  Traffic Scheme will resume on Monday (August 27), pending a dialogue on its effects with Congress.

Jojo Garcia,  MMDA General Manager, said that the MMDA is set to hold a dialogue with the Senate, members of the House of Representatives, and Malacañang to sell to government officials the importance of the scheme.

Garcia also said that if more motorists will participate in the scheme, then they will exempt public utility buses from Metro Manila’s number coding scheme.

“If the participation rate in the driver-only car ban reaches at least 50 percent  of the motorists in Edsa (PUBs are exempted), “Garcia said.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, head of the MMC Special Committee on Traffic, said they have approved a resolution that will extend the dry run and test the carpooling program of the MMDA.

However, Bautista said they have yet to wait for the assessment of the Expanded HOV Traffic Scheme that aims to encourage motorists to engage in carpooling.

“We have to continue the dry run, know the findings of the MMDA and the affected local government units regarding the Expanded HOV scheme on Edsa and inner cities,” Bautista said.

The MMDA, in coordination with five Metro Manila cities — San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Makati and Taguig — will do a study from the test run to determine the impact of the scheme on Edsa’s traffic flow.

Penalties shall not yet be imposed during the dry run, but Garcia urged the motorists to cooperate.

 “For our evaluation, we are calling on the participation of everyone. Participate in the carpooling program,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program has several major infrastructure and mass transportation projects in the National Capital Region lined up, as part of the long-term answer to Metro Manila’s traffic problems.

“We cannot just wait for these projects to be done. We need to do something about it,” said Garcia, adding that next month, the Department of Public Works and Highway will start the rehabilitation of Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge in Mandaluyong City.

Moreover, the Metro Manila mayors also agreed to increase the penalty for illegal parking to P1,000 and for attended and unattended vehicles to P2,000; and public utility buses going astray of the yellow lane on Edsa to P1,000 from P500 currently.

Earlier, the Senate called for the suspension of full implementation of the scheme, which bans driver-only vehicles on Edsa from 7 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 9 pm.

The MMC is the policy -making body of the MMDA.

Image Credits: Nonoy Lacza

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Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco is a grant recipient and fellow of 2017 media fellowship program by Probe Media Foundation Inc. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Mass Communication from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). After graduating in 2000 she immediately worked as a newspaper correspondent for Today Newspaper until 2005. Within those five years in Today Newspaper, she was assigned to cover the Eastern Police and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Rizal Province, and the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Tourism (DOT). In October of 2005, she became a correspondent for the Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing, Inc. She covers Health, Education, MMDA, the local government units in the eastern and southern portions of the metropolis, and Rizal Province.