Solon mulls ban on private vehicles along Edsa during rush hours
MANILA, Philippines — Another proposal to decongest Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare has floated anew: ban private vehicles from plying Edsa during rush hours.
During the 2020 budget hearing of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday, Caloocan 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice floated the idea of making Edsa a “mass transport highway” and only allow public utility vehicles during rush hours.
“From 6 to 9 a.m., from 6 to 9 p.m., ipagbawal na lahat ng private vehicles sa Edsa. Hayaan natin ‘yung mga buses, lahat ng public utility vehicles ang payagan natin dito,” Erice said.
The lawmaker said this will help decongest Edsa, especially that the volume of private vehicles that ply along the major road reaches up to 300,000 while buses are only about 8,000.
The 300,000 private car owners that would be affected should the said scheme be implemented could either leave their houses before 6 a.m. or after 9 a.m., use routes or streets outside Edsa, or use public transport, Erice proposed.
“Dapat ang bigyan natin ng priority ay yung kapakanan ng mga ordinaryong mangaggawa, mga mahihirap, mga lower middle class na wala namang mga sasakyan,” Erice said in a separate interview.
This “immediate and temporary solution” could be in effect until the completion of construction works on North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) connector, the Metro Manila subway, and the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), he added.
“Nagsakripisyo na ng deka-dekada ‘yung mga ordinaryong mamamayan at manggagawa na dumadaan sa Edsa, panahon naman ngayon na magsakripisyo ‘yung mga may-ari ng sasakyan,” Erice said.
When asked if motorcycles and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) units will be considered as private vehicles, the lawmaker said this still has to be studied. Meanwhile, he said that emergency vehicles such as ambulances will be exempt from the ban.
Erice said he plans to file a resolution on the proposed scheme after meeting with the House Metropolitan development committee chairman Manny Lopez in late September. He aims to have the scheme implemented this year, preferably before the onslaught of the holiday season.
During the hearing, MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said that the agency will “seriously consider” the proposal and will bring it up with Metro Manila mayors during their upcoming Metro Manila Council meeting in October.
In a separate interview, MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said they will have to study if the ban could be “hybrid” and just allow private vehicles to ply Edsa during rush hours as long as they carry three or more passengers.
Meanwhile, he expressed confidence that there will be enough public vehicles, especially buses, to accommodate the additional public transport commuters.
“Kapag ‘yan ay napatupad, ili-lift din natin ang coding sa lahat ng bus so that’s another 20 percent additional so kakasya yan,” Garcia said.
“Ang talagang malaking challenge dyan, saan mo ilalagay yung more than 300,000 na private vehicles kung kakasya sa alternate route o sa mga side streets,” he pointed out. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.