Malls in Metro Manila will open at 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. and will close at 11 p.m. starting October 15, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Friday.
MMDA chief of staff Jojo Garcia said 16 mall operators agreed to adjust their operating hours to lessen traffic expected during the Christmas season.
Garcia said that with the traffic management plan, there will be a reduction of 200 vehicles per mall during the morning rush hour or about 3,200 vehicles in metro roads starting October 15.
“If the malls adjust their hours, the public will also adjust the hours when they leave their houses. If they used to leave at 8.a.m., with the new mall hours, they will leave at 10 a.m. The two hours they are not on the road will make a lot of difference,” Garcia said.
He added that if sales of the malls do not go down, the mall operators are free to inform the MMDA on January 15, 2018; if so, they will stick with the traffic management plan for good. “Let’s have a meeting after January 15,” Garcia added.
SM mall owner Bien Mateo said that they can recover their losses if they operate longer hours during weekends. He also said that they are willing to support MMDA to ease traffic in Metro Manila.
“We already circulated this to all our tenants, all our suppliers and even our own affiliates like SM store and supermarkets. We will support MMDA,” he said.
Bien said that SM mall is already preparing for the incoming peak season.
‘’We added more security guards and traffic aides. We have already moved our entry points far from the main thoroughfares, that will improve the queuing of vehicles and prevent them from spilling over to the thoroughfares.”
MMDA Chairman Danny Lim said that he appreciated the support of malls for their new traffic management plan.
“They wholeheartedly support the plan so this means we didn’t have to force anyone to support it. Their support is voluntary and there was very little opposition,” Lim said.