TO address anticipated monstrous traffic during the Christmas season, shopping malls on Friday agreed to extend their operating hours.
The consensus was reached after their meeting with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
Tolentino had proposed staggered mall operating hours to help untangle traffic snarls being experienced in vicinities of shopping malls.
Under the proposal, some malls could open early while others can operate at late hours, according to the MMDA chief.
During the meeting, Tolentino said shopping malls along the busy Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) agreed to extend their operating schedule by an hour.
“Almost all shopping mall operators along EDSA agreed that their operating hours will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” he told reporters after the meeting.
At present, shopping malls open at 10 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.
Tolentino explained that with the extended operating schedule, the opening and closing times of malls no longer conflict with rush hour.
“This will be the first time that malls will open at 11 a.m. but it will not be [done simultaneously]with the rush hour so we will ease traffic,” he said.
The MMDA noted that traffic volume usually rises 15 to 20 percent between November and December.
The new mall operating time is proposed to be implemented from November 28, 2014 to January 3, 2015.
Among those that agreed to extend their operating time were Robinsons, SM, Ayala, Megaworld and Walter Mart malls.
Tolentino advised shoppers to do their Christmas shopping early and try to avoid the holiday rush and the expected traffic jams especially around the big shopping malls.
He suggested that shoppers visit the shopping malls nearest to their residences to avoid being trapped in traffic jams.