MMDA to strictly implement use of PUV, motorcycle lanes on EDSA

Story updated to include statements of MMDA Chairman Tim Orbos and Spokesperson Celine Pialago.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 18) — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Friday it will strictly implement two long-running traffic rules to better manage the often-gridlocked EDSA.

Starting November 20, private vehicles will no longer be allowed to use EDSA's "yellow lanes," which have long been reserved for public utility vehicles (PUVs) like buses and UV Express Services.

Private vehicles will only be allowed to enter the yellow lane if they are 100 meters away from turning into a side street.

"Kung bibilis itong yellow lane natin, baka sakali ang private na tao mag-bus, mabawasan ang sasakyan," said MMDA Assistant General Manager Jojo Garcia. "Kung may disiplina tayo, may sarili tayong lane, siguro mas maayos."

[Translation: If this yellow lane moves faster, private car drivers might take the bus, which means there would be fewer vehicles. If we are disciplined and we stick our lane, the road might be more orderly.]

Private vehicle drivers who violate the policy must pay a ₱500 fine, while PUV drivers who veer outside the yellow lane will get a ₱1,000 fine.

The MMDA added it will also start apprehending motorcycle riders who violate the "blue lane" policy starting November 22.

In February 2012, the MMDA mandated that motorcycles only use the fourth lane on EDSA from the right sidewalk. However, other vehicles may use the blue lane.

The agency said motorcycle riders may only deviate from the blue lane at least 200 meters away from making a turn.

Officials are hoping these schemes will not only help better manage traffic, but also lessen crashes on the country's busiest road.

"Ang idea naman talaga nitong pagre-reimplement natin ng motorcycle lane is dumadami na 'ung bilang ng aksidente involving mga motorsiklo, 55 accidents per day on EDSA," MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago told CNN Philippines on Saturday.

[Translation: The idea behind reimplementing the motorcycle lane policy is that more and more motorcyclists are involved in road crashes, around 55 a day on EDSA.]

"Yung aksidente, 20-to-30 minutes yung nagiging delay sa traffic flow, lalo na sa mga major thoroughfares," she added.

[Translation: Road crashes delay traffic, especially on major thoroughfares, by 20-to-30 minutes.]

However, authorities say enforcers will not automatically apprehend drivers who fall short of the 100- or 200-meter allowance. What is important, they say, is motorists to stay within their lane unless they're making a turn onto a side street.

"I think a few meters off and on hindi naman masyadong magiging strict...Makikita mo naman talagang pagbabawalan 'yung talagang sinasadya niya, malayo pa 'yung ikutan eh nandoon na siya sa may yellow lane...So I think iba naman ho 'yun," MMDA general manager Tim Orbos said.

[Translation:I think they won't be too strict if drivers are off a few meters...You see they'll be prevented from doing so if they're on the yellow lane when they're still far from the area where they have to turn...That will be different.]

The MMDA said traffic enforcers will intensify apprehending violators with the help of their security cameras.

At the same time, the agency vows to punish enforcers who will go beyond their limits.

Pialago said the previous implementation of the policies were problematic because of the lack of personnel and resources.

However, she said officials will make sure to enforce it properly this time.

"Naniniwala kami, kakayanin natin ito araw-araw, tuluy-tuloy [We believe we can continuously enforce this every day]," she said.

Pialago said authorities will also check that motorcycle riders are wearing the right equipment, such as helmets and shoes.

Orbos is asking motorists to understand the need for the stricter enforcement of traffic measures – after all, they just want to lessen the heavy traffic and vehicular accidents on EDSA.

"Abala ho talaga 'yan sa ating mga private vehicles but we have to do it. At kailangan lang ho unti-unti ipapaliwanag lang ng tama. I think kailangan ho nating gawin 'yun," he said.

[Translation:It really will affect our private vehicles, but we have to do it. And we have to slowly explain that it's the right thing to do. I think we really have to do that.]

CNN Philippines Correspondent Rex Remitio, and Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.