MMDA's two-day number coding scheme could start in May

MMDA's two-day number coding scheme could start in May
(July 5, 2021) Back to normal traffic along Edsa in Santolan Quezon City while Metro Manila on General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restriction.
STAR / Boy Santos, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Manila Development Authority has formally proposed a number-coding scheme that will ban cars from Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue two days a week depending on the last digit of their license plate number to the policy-making Metro Manila Council, it said late Monday night.

The MMDA at a separate meeting in end-March proposed three traffic volume reduction schemes for its Unified Volume Reduction Program, including a 40-percent reduction that would involve two coding days for each car.

At President Rodrigo Duterte's Talk to the People late Monday night, MMDA Chairman Romando Artes confirmed that the agency was moving forward with the 40-percent plan, which was awaiting the approval of the Metro Manila Council. 

If approved by the 17 local chief executives of the National Capital Region, the scheme could be effective by May 1, 2022. 

Under the scheme, plate numbers ending in the following numbers must stay off EDSA from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the following days:

  • 1, 2: Monday, Wednesday 
  • 3, 4: Monday, Thursday 
  • 5, 6: Tuesday, Thursday 
  • 7, 8: Tuesday, Friday
  • 9, 0: Wednesday, Friday 

The scheme only applies to private vehicles, Artes said, while taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Service, public utility jeepneys, buses and the like are excluded. 

Artes said that the scheme could reduce up to 1,174 private cars on the northbound side of EDSA, ensuring a "light to moderate flow" of vehicles.

Citing MMDA data, Artes said that 300,000 vehicles were sold last year. He said 60 to 70 percent of those cars go in and out of Metro Manila on a daily basis. 

READ: MMDA suspends number coding from Holy Tuesday to Good Friday

In a 2018 study, the Japan International Cooperation Agency said that traffic costs the Philippines P3.5 billion in "lost opportunities" daily. The amount is expected to triple in number by the year 2030.

The MMDA chief also previously said that constructing safe walkways and bicycle lanes for commuters could also incentivize walking or cycling to work, which could reduce vehicular traffic. He did not mention this proposal again at last night's meeting.

He added that the MMDA would be meeting with the Civil Service Commission after Holy Week to discuss his proposal about the adoption of a 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. workday and a four-day workweek schedule for government employees to ease traffic. — Franco Luna 


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