Lawmaker: Why not keep private vehicles off Edsa?
MANILA, Philippines — In yet another radical proposal to solve the traffic crisis, a Metro Manila lawmaker on Monday floated the idea of banning private vehicles on Edsa during rush hours.
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development, suggested to policymakers to convert the perennially busy thoroughfare into a “mass transport highway” open only to public utility vehicles at peak hours.
“Why don’t we prohibit all private vehicles from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.?” he told a House hearing on the 2020 budget proposal of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Erice said in an interview with reporters that only buses and other public utility vehicles should be allowed on Edsa during rush hours.
Some 300,000 private cars use Edsa every day, compared with only about 8,000 buses, he pointed out.
Erice listed a number of options available to private motorists who would be affected by his proposal.
Take the bus
For instance, private vehicle owners may opt to use Edsa before 6 a.m. or after 9 a.m., using alternative routes during the ban, he said. Or, he suggested further, they may skip using the car entirely and take the bus.
Erice said the MMDA could also initiate traffic control plans for public buses, such as point-to-point or alternate bus stops, along with raising speed limits along the highway.
MMDA Chair Danilo Lim expressed openness to the suggestion, but said this would have to be discussed with Metro Manila mayors.
Erice said traffic managers should give priority to the commuting public instead of private motorists.
“We should prioritize the welfare of ordinary workers, the poor, those in the lower middle class who don’t have cars,” he told reporters.
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