MMDA Mulls Over Expanding Current Coding Scheme
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim said that his agency is considering the expansion of the currently implemented coding scheme. Instead of just once a week, Lim is suggesting to extend the scheme to two days per week. Lim believes that the move will greatly reduce the number of vehicles plying Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfares, especially during rush hours.
Lim revealed the plan during a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation.
“There are too many cars here in Metro Manila,” Lim said during the meeting. “There are around 2.5 million to 2.6 million registered vehicles here. These numbers represent 30 percent of all vehicles registered all over the country.”
“It is very hard to address traffic in the capital because of the increasing volume of cars while the number of roads is still the same. We need to do a little sacrifice and maybe we should implement a two-day number-coding scheme every week to improve the flow of traffic in the region,” he added.
During the meeting, Lim asked support from the Metro Manila Council concerning his plans for an expanded coding scheme. The MM Council, which is composed of the Metro’s 17 mayors, is the policy-approving body of the MMDA.
Metro Manila’s traffic woes
Lim stated that the Metro’s traffic problem lies with the fact that while the National Capital Region (NCR) holds 30 percent of all registered vehicles in the nation, it only contains 5 percent of the country’s total roads.
He also said that simultaneous road constructions worsened daily traffic jams.
Lim added that the problem is compounded by the 1,000 traffic enforcers who refused to go back to work because of unpaid wages since February. An MMDA traffic enforcer receives only P6,000 monthly.
Under the current coding scheme guidelines, private cars are barred from plying the main roads once a week, depending on their license plate’s last number.
Poe expresses doubts
Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, was skeptic about the benefits that a two-day coding scheme could bring. She said the public should not be treated as a guinea pig that agencies can experiment on in an attempt to address the Metro’s worsening traffic issues.
“While we want an immediate solution to the traffic problem, this should not be a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, which will benefit only a few,” said Poe. She explained that if the plan pushed through, those with the means will only buy another vehicle.
Poe advised the MMDA to study the plan exhaustively and conduct a nationwide consultation on the subject before proceeding.