MMDA assigns rush-hour lanes on EDSA for multiple-passenger vehicles

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Updated to include statements from the Automobiles Association of the Philippines.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 7) — Private vehicles with only one passenger — the driver — will soon be banned from passing through special lanes on EDSA during rush hour.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Tuesday approved a resolution allowing the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to open high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes along the major thoroughfare during rush hour.

This is among the MMDA's initiatives aimed at decongesting EDSA.

Only those with at least two passengers, including the driver can use the lanes.

The MMDA, however, has yet to set the guidelines and date of implementation. It said it will conduct a test run on August 20 before the rule takes effect.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia was quoted saying, "We hope to encourage carpooling with the HOV scheme."

The MMC, which is composed of all Metro Manila mayors, is the MMDA's policy-making body.

MMDA said the MMC has also approved the provincial bus regulation scheme.

The measure directs select provincial buses from the north to stop at the Valenzuela Interim Terminal in Valenzuela City, and those from the south at the South Interim Provincial Terminal along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Parañaque City.

Garcia said the MMDA has yet to decide whether it will implement the rule on August 15.

"We have to fix some facilities and other infrastructure at the Valenzuela Interim Terminal. We are not in a hurry to implement the policy as we want to make sure everything is in order," Garcia said.

Automobile Association of the Philippines President Gus Lagman said they are for the measure, but it should coincide with the no-contact apprehension policy.

"Marami na yata silang CCTV, so pwede nang makunan (ang mga lumalabag)," he said.

[Translation: They have plenty of CCTVs, so you can catch violators.]

Lagman says the country still needs a more efficient public transport system to ease congestion in the metropolis.

"Ang idea kasi is not only to build roads to accommodate more vehicles. Importante is come up with a system that can move more people," he said.