MMDA proposes number-coding exemptions for EDSA carpoolers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 11) — Cars carrying three or more people may soon be exempt from number coding along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) if a proposed traffic scheme by the Metro Manila Development Authority pushes through.

The MMDA said Tuesday it is considering coding exemptions for cars with three or more passengers as a means to promote carpooling or commuting along the congested highway

"Ineecourage natin ang tao na magsasama sila dyan, para mabawasan ang sasakyan…Kung tatlo kayo sa isang sasakyan, wala kayong coding, ili-lift natin pwede na kayo dumaan sa EDSA at any time," MMDA General Manager for planing Jojo Garcia said before the Metro Manila Council.

[Translation: We are encouraging people to carpool with each other so the volume of cars will lessen… IF there are three people in one car, they will be exempt from number coding and they can pass EDSA any time.]

Garcia says under this proposed scheme cars along EDSA with two passengers will still be subject to coding, while those with only one passenger may be banned.

Traffic congestion along Metro Manila highways has been a long-standing issue in the region. In 2015, Metro Manila was named as having the "worst traffic on Earth," by navigation application Waze.

READ: Metro Manila has 'worst traffic on Earth,' longest commute - Waze

To remedy the situation, MMDA is studying several proposals to ease traffic in the region. Among these plans is a two-number coding scheme, where authorities plan to ban certain cars from plying EDSA twice a week.

The MMDA is also considering an "EDSA, One Way, All the Way" proposal, where authorities plan to implement a one-way traffic flow on EDSA, C5, and Roxas Boulevard.

These proposals, however, are not yet set in stone, as they will first need the approval of city mayors in the council.

During the meeting, council member, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said the MMDA has not presented any study for their consideration and approval. 

"Yung study nga kasi, hindi pwedeng resolution lang. Kasi dapat kapag pinresent mo ang resolusyon meron ka naman simulation, study, data para hindi naman tayo nangangapa," he said.

[Translation: It can't just be a resolution. When you present the resolution, you must have a simulation, study, and data, so we won't go in without plans.]

MMDA officials, however, clarified road tests for the proposed schemes will take place early next year.

"Next year na ito… Kung gagawa tayo ng mga sistema tulad niyan, siguro maghinayhinay tayo lalo na ngayong na panahon na ng Christmas season," MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said.

[Translation: This is for next year. If we're making a system like that, we'll most likely do it step by step, especially since it's Christmas season.]

Lim said while the other preparations for the holiday season and the ASEAN summit are yet to be ironed out, the agency is doubling its effort to fully prepare for the events.