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Edsa ban on driver-only cars, provincial buses starts

Traffic-easing scheme effective from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays

BUMPER TO BUMPER NO MORE?MMDA officials hope to ease traffic flow on Edsa by regulating the movement of both public and private vehicles. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

The daily volume of vehicles on Edsa may be reduced by almost half during rush hour if the twin ban on driver-only vehicles and on provincial buses which take effect today prove to be successful.

However, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) remains cautiously optimistic about the effectiveness of the traffic-mitigating measures which have been met with criticism since their announcement last week.

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Temporary

Still, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia urged the public to be more open, saying that the schemes, particularly the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane policy, were not permanent and would be scrapped if these prove to be ineffective.

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Under MMDA Regulation No. 18-004A, provincial buses would be prohibited from passing through the stretch of Edsa between Pasay City and Cubao in Quezon City from Mondays to Fridays, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Buses coming from the north should end their trips in Cubao pending the completion of the Valenzuela Interim Terminal in Valenzuela City, while those from the south should drop off all passengers at the Southwest Integrated Provincial Transport System in Parañaque City.

On the other hand, under the HOV scheme, driver-only vehicles would be banned from Edsa, starting from North Avenue in Quezon City, all the way to Magallanes in Makati City, and vice versa, during the same rush hour periods.

These vehicles would be allowed on Edsa only when they cross the busy highway. Violators face a P1,000 fine.

From Aug. 15 to 22, however, violators of either ban would receive only a reprimand, the MMDA said.

According to MMDA figures, around 367,000 vehicles pass through Edsa every day. Of the total, 7,000 are provincial buses (2 percent) while around 180,000 are driver-only vehicles (49 percent).

If found to be effective, both measures could reduce by nearly 50 percent the volume of vehicles passing through the 25-kilometer highway during rush hour.

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The promise of a less congested Edsa, however, has not stopped critics with some complaining that the bans would pose a lot of inconvenience.

Multiple rides

Provincial bus passengers bound for Metro Manila said that after being dropped off at either the Valenzuela or Parañaque terminals, they would have to hail another ride to get to their destination.

On the other hand, private car owners who drive by themselves complained about being deprived of their right to pass through Edsa.

But the traffic situation in Metro Manila, made even worse by ongoing infrastructure projects under President Duterte’s “Build Build Build” program, has placed more pressure on the MMDA to find other ways to ease the problem.

Garcia said the MMDA would assess the effects of the twin measures after the weeklong dry run to determine whether these would continue to be implemented.

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TAGS: driver-only ban, Edsa traffic, Jojo Garcia, MMDA
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