The MMDA on Wednesday began the dry run for the new traffic scheme, which prohibits single-passenger vehicles—both public and private—during rush hours on weekdays as data from the agency showed that 70 percent of vehicles that pass through EDSA are driver-only.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
What you need to know about the driver-only car ban on EDSA
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - August 15, 2018 - 6:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite criticisms from government officials and motorists, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is eyeing to fully implement the expanded High Occupancy Vehicle scheme on EDSA on August 23 in a bid to reduce the volume of cars that traverse Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare.

The MMDA on Wednesday began the dry run for the new traffic scheme, which prohibits single-passenger vehicles—both public and private—during rush hours on weekdays as data from the agency showed that 70 percent of vehicles that pass through EDSA are “  driver-only.”

Motorcycles are exempted from this ban.

Nearly 3,000 drivers were caught violating the HOV traffic scheme during the first day of the weeklong dry-run.

READ: Poe to MMDA: Don't be too hasty on EDSA driver-only car ban

In a press briefing, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the travel flow along EDSA slightly improved during the morning rush hour as they conducted a dry-run.

Under the new scheme, driver-only vehicles are barred from traversing all lanes of EDSA from North EDSA in Quezon City to Magallanes in Makati City from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The crossing of EDSA at intersections, however, will be allowed.

Those who will be caught violating the HOV traffic scheme will be fined P1,000 once the measure is fully implemented.

READSenators urge MMDA to suspend driver-only ban on EDSA

The Senate, on the first day of the dry-run, voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for the suspension of the implementation of the driver-only car ban on EDSA.

The upper house called on the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council to further study the HOV scheme and “provide real solutions to Metro Manila traffic congestion.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said that with the new traffic scheme, vehicular volume on EDSA was just transferred to other thoroughfares.

Social media users complained that while the ban seems to help in lessening traffic on EDSA, it has worsened the situation on C5.

The MMDA general manager has thumbed down the use of alternate routes but encouraged the public to engage in carpooling instead.

“We are discouraging the public from taking alternate routes because we are just transferring the traffic. What we’re promoting is carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles plying our roads,” Garcia said.

In a study commissioned by ride-sharing company Uber, Manila ranks as the third worst city in Asia when it comes to the time people spend daily on traffic gridlock.

‘Colorum’ carpools

The MMDA strongly supports the idea of carpooling to ease traffic congestion along EDSA but the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board does not.

When the driver-only ban was only a proposal last year, LTFRB said this could lead to “colorum” carpools. Colorum refers to vehicles that have no franchise to operate from the LTFRB.

LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said that drivers who accept payment from passengers need to get a franchise.

Last December, LTFRB issued another warning to online carpool service company Wunder to cease operations in the country.

The agency first issued an advisory against Wunder ordering it to stop operations as it was considered as another form of Transportation Network Company without coordination with the LTFRB.

Other quarters also believe that carpooling could risk public safety.

“While carpooling may be commendable, this plan prohibiting driver-only vehicles along EDSA could give rise to paid car jockeys who are more than willing to risk their own safety by getting into the cars of strangers just to earn money,” Sen. Leila de Lima said.

EDSA DRIVER-ONLY CARS BAN LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING REGULATORY BOARD METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
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