MMDA: Still no number coding scheme in NCR, but adjusted mall hours eyed for holidays

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 20) — The number coding scheme in Metro Manila remains suspended despite the region's shift to a more relaxed Alert Level 3, but more interventions will soon be in place to further reduce COVID-19 infections in the upcoming holidays, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Wednesday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said aside from traffic, the state of the public transportation in the capital region still needs to be addressed.

"Our public (transportation) system right now is just not normal. The buses, the carousel, it’s being managed by the Department of Transportation and medyo mahaba pa ang queue (and the queues are still long)," he said.

"But we must always remember this, most of our kababayans only own one vehicle. If we are going to implement the number coding, they will be forced once a week to just take the public transport and they will just add to the long queue ng bus carousel," Abalos added.

He noted that the daily volume of vehicles in EDSA has reduced to over 390,000 this month, a bit closer to the pre-pandemic daily average of over 405,000. But the average travel speed when plying Monumento to Roxas Boulevard is now at 23.43 kilometers per hour, an improvement from the 11 kph level before the pandemic.

In preparation for the upcoming holidays, Abalos said they will ask shopping mall operators to adjust their hours to 11 am -12mn and only conduct sales on weekends instead of weekdays to prevent traffic gridlocks.

"I also made notices that there will be no diggings in EDSA except for the national programs of Build, Build, Build and for emergency repairs. It will be in the middle of November up to January 3," he added.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31.