Malls to open before noon to ease holiday traffic

Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and mall operators yesterday agreed to open malls at a later time to ease the expected traffic during the holiday season.

This is the first time for the MMDA to implement this for all of the estimated 100 malls in the region because of the worsening state of Metro Manila’s traffic, general manager Jojo Garcia said after his meeting with mall operators at the MMDA headquarters.

Last year, only the 15 malls along EDSA were required to open before noon.

“Sa sobrang sikip na ng Metro Manila, ultimo kalsada ay kailangan na nating i-schedule ang paggamit (Metro Manila is too congested, we even need to schedule road use),” Garcia said.

The malls will open at 11 a.m. on weekdays from Nov. 11 up to Jan. 19, 2020, but operators are given the leeway to set their time of closing, Garcia said.

With around 100 malls in Metro Manila complying, the MMDA is hoping that the 11 a.m. mall opening will reduce traffic by reducing the volume by 200,000 people – the estimated number of employees in the 100 malls – during rush hour. 

But this does not mean the traffic will lighten up, with the estimated 1,000 new vehicles being added to Metro Manila’s traffic every day, Garcia said.

Malls are also prohibited from holding sales on weekdays. But Garcia said the malls have the freedom to open at an earlier time or close  late on weekends, meaning traffic is not expected to lighten up on these days.

Mall operators also agreed to deploy additional security personnel to guide motorists going to parking areas, to remove obstructions on loading and unloading bays and to limit deliveries of non-perishable goods at night.

Among the mall operators who attended represented SM Supermalls, Ayala Malls, Robinsons, Trinoma, Fishermall and Greenhills Shopping Center.

As of Sept. 23, travel time along EDSA slowed to 17.54 kilometers per hour,  for a travel time of one hour 18 minutes and 58 seconds from EDSA-Monumento to Roxas Boulevard, according to the MMDA traffic engineering center’s latest data.

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