Number coding back in Metro Manila, but commuters urge more transport options

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Number coding back in Metro Manila, but commuters urge more transport options
Commuters choose to walk home after having a hard time catching a bus from EDSA Ortigas station on April 13, 2022.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will again implement the number coding scheme in Metro Manila starting Monday, August 15, to limit cars on the road from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays except holidays. 

The Metro Manila Council of the capital region's mayors, approved MMDA Resolution No. 22-14 outlining the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program amid the expected increase in the volume of vehicles in the NCR upon the resumption of face-to-face classes on August 22. 

Under the scheme, vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 are prohibited on Monday, 3 and 4 on Tuesday, 5 and 6 on Wednesday, 7 and 8 on Thursday, 9 and 0 on Friday during the said coding hours. 

The MMDA claimed that the re-implementation of the number coding scheme in the NCR will reduce traffic volume by twenty percent during peak hours. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average number of vehicles plying EDSA daily was at 405,000. 

"From August 15 to 17, we will start the dry run and will only remind motorists of the expanded number coding scheme. From August 18 onwards, the MMDA will start apprehending and will issue traffic violation tickets on ground and through our non-contact apprehension policy," Acting MMDA Chairman Engineer Carlo Dimayuga III said.

"Exempted from the UVVRP are public utility vehicles including tricycles, transport network vehicle services, motorcycles, garbage trucks, fuel trucks, marked government vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, marked media vehicles, and motor vehicles carrying essential and/or perishable goods."

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.

Based on the latest vehicle volume count conducted by the MMDA Traffic Engineering Center on August 4, approximately 387,000 vehicles traversed EDSA. The volume is expected to balloon to 436,000 or higher than the pre-pandemic level. 

Commuter group: Deploy more PUVs, TNVS too

Later Thursday, transport advocacy network The Passenger Forum urged the LTFRB to expedite allowing more public utility vehicles and transport network vehicle services on Metro Manila roads amid the return of the number coding scheme.

“We have repeatedly underscored the need to address the ballooning demand for public transport. The opening of schools and in-person classes will further increase this demand. And now, the MMDA’s announcement will also add to it. The LTFRB needs to act fast to make sure our situation will not worsen to the extreme," TPF Convener Primo Morillo said in a statement sent to reporters. 

“Some car owners that will be affected by the UVVRP, will choose to ride PUVs while others will try to book a ride-hailing service. We need to address both of them by allowing more options on the road,” Morillo added.

Morillo said commuters are counting on the promise of LTFRB Chairperson Cheloy Garafil that the board would deploy more public transport on the road in time for face-to-face classes.

“We are hoping that the government’s next steps will be sufficient for the commuting public. Our economy is losing with the state of our public transport right now and it is just right for them to accelerate the implementation of measures in addressing our transport crisis,” he said.

Former MMDA chief Romando Artes previously said that constructing safe walkways and bicycle lanes for commuters could also incentivize walking or cycling to work, which could reduce vehicular traffic. It is unclear if these proposals before former president Rodrigo Duterte will be concerned by the next administration. 



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