MMDA Suspends EDSA HOV Traffic Scheme Implementation but Dry Run Will Continue

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has suspended the full implementation of the Expanded High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Traffic Scheme along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA).

The suspension follows the Senate's filing of a resolution urging the agency to recall MMDA Regulation No. 18-005 which details the rules and regulations of the scheme and to suspend its implementation.

"We respect the wisdom of our senators, said MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia in a press briefing on August 17. "We are suspending the full implementation of the policy on August 23."

In Philippine Senate Resolution No. 845 of the 17th Congress, Senators Vicente Sotto III, Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Franklin Drilon urged the agency and its governing and policy-making body, the Metro Manila Council (MMC), to "conduct public consultations, further study the 'driver-only' ban, and provide for real solutions to Metro Manila traffic congestions."

Now that's the good news. The bad news though is that the agency will continue with the dry run of the expanded HOV traffic scheme on EDSA until the MMC calls for its cessation.

"(The) MMDA has no power to stop the policy because it is a MMC resolution," Garcia added. "It is also the MMC that has the last say."

This means come Monday, August 20--and perhaps for the rest of week until the MMC convenes and nullifies Regulation 18-005--cars with only single occupants will still be prohibited from taking EDSA from North Avenue in Quezon City to Magallanes in Makati City from 7 to 10 AM and from 6 to 9 PM.

According to Garcia, the scheme was meant not to inconvenience lone drivers from taking EDSA but as a short-term solution to curb traffic as numerous road repairs and infrastructure projects are simultaneously taking place under the government's "Build, Build, Build" program.

"We need to do something. We cannot just wait for these infrastructure projects that would take three to four years," said Garcia. "Metro Manila's traffic problems are already decades old. There is no overnight solution," he added.

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