MMDA consults transport, commuter groups on solving traffic woes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is recalibrating its strategy to ease traffic congestion in the capital.

After its recent modified odd-even scheme drew flak from social media, MMDA Chairman Tim Orbos on Thursday met with transport and commuters' groups to discuss proposed solutions.

"We need to look at how to solve, honest to goodness, congestion. We need to come out with a solution that we should participate (in). All of us," Orbos said.

Among the traffic solutions discussed were the declogging of secondary roads, carpooling of commuters, and the relocation of bus terminals from Cubao, Pasay, and Manila.

But the 17 Mabuhay lanes or inner streets used by vehicles as alternative routes around Metro Manila still need to be cleared of parked vehicles and other road obstructions.

"At six in the afternoon, you can barely move out, and six in the afternoon is a peak period. Can you imagine if these can be used as a side street, as a Mabuhay lane or Chirstmas road?" said Elvira Medina, Head of the National Center for Commuters' Safety and Protection.

MMDA officials said the agency has started declogging secondary roads around Metro Manila in December.

The agency was also cleared to implement the banning of light trucks or trucks that are 4,500 kilograms and below, from EDSA.

However, this is still pending until the modified odd-even scheme is revised.

Carpooling and paid roads?

The consultation on Thursday also resulted in the formation of a new body, the Metro Manila Transport Consultative Council, which is composed of several transport and commuters' groups.

MMDA will be consulting the body first before announcing or implementing traffic schemes in Metro Manila.

The modified odd-even scheme is just one of the four measures presented to the Metro Manila Council, composed of local chief executives.

Another proposal is to promote carpooling, an initiative they plan to expand.

"We are trying to work out the mechanics so that we can offer it to the Employers' Confederation of the Philippines and also the People Management Association of the Philippines so that it can be on a corporate program basis," Medina explained.

Orbos also said they are looking at partnering with neighboring countries.

 

"The real thing is that we need to have a volume decongestion. That's what we need to do. And what will happen here is that we're going to push for probably what they have in Singapore, the ERP," Orbos said in his New Day interview.

The Electronic Road Pricing system or ERP is a pay-as-you-use road scheme which charges motorists when they use major thoroughfares during peak hours.

Similar to the e-pass system in tollways, motorists install a sensor in their unit that deducts from a stored-value card.

"In fact it's happening here now, with the trucks going to the South Harbor to the Manila International Container Ports. We need to do something like that considering that 80 percent of our roads are occupied by 20 percent of our commuters," Orbos said.

CNN Philippines' Makoi Popioco contributed to this report.