The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday said it was considering opening three more government properties to private motorists to ease traffic in parts of Metro Manila.
Speaking to reporters in Malacanañg, MMDA Chairman Thomas Orbos said the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) successfully negotiated with other government entities to open three government properties to private vehicles to help decongest traffic in the short term.
“We are looking at around six more government properties to open up,” he added.
Orbos said the MMDA is considering the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig to solve gridlocks from Lawton to Pasong Tamo.
He said the Office of Transport Security along the airport area will also be made accessible by next week.
A barangay property connecting EDSA to Jupiter Street in Makati would also serve as an alternate route, Orbos added.
He said the I-ACT is still negotiating for the opening of several other government properties including an MMDA property on Roxas Boulevard, and properties of the University of the Philippines, the National Power Corp., and Philippine National Railways.
Earlier this month, Camp Aguinaldo was opened to private vehicles to lessen motor vehicles using EDSA to and from Katipunan and Santolan.
Mall owners were also asked to adjust mall hours and stop holding weekday sales to ease the traffic, Orbos said.
The MMDA chief said that he also asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to implement a moratorium on road repair, which started last November 1 and will take effect until January 9.
Meanwhile, Orbos said the MMDA is also studying the possible implementation of a “congestion fee” that will tax motorists for using public roads. However, he said there is no specific date yet as to when it will be implemented.
”There have been several meetings between the inter-agency council on traffic and the Singaporean government to precisely take a look at such a step.”
“So I don’t think it’s going to be a problem with regards to buying more cars. But having said that, yes, we do agree that we should take a look at the congestion tax or at the very least, carpooling and we’re doing the guidelines on that as we speak,” he added.
PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) deputy spokesperson Senior Insp. Jem Delantes said on Friday that based on records provided by the MMDA, travel time from Monumento to Roxas Boulevard and vice-versa has been reduced by at least 20 minutes following the number coding scheme’s no-window-hour policy (from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Travel time through EDSA used to take an average of one hour and six minutes in October, and 46 minutes this month.
Exempted from number-coding scheme
The HPG also revealed the types of vehicles that are exempted from the expanded number coding traffic scheme along the 17-kilometer stretch of EDSA where an estimated one million vehicles travel everyday crossing at least five cities and one town in the metro.
Delantes said these vehicles are exempted from the number coding scheme provided they are properly marked and used only for official functions. Among these are: fire trucks, ambulances, military vehicles, media, government and diplomatic vehicles including those used by members of Congress or those issued with protocol plates. Also exempted are those vehicles that used in disaster relief operations.
Delantes said motorcycles are not affected by the expanded number coding policy, however they should comply with the rules on the use of motorcycle helmets.
He also enumerated the vehicles that may file for exemption provided their applications are approved by the MMDA. These are: school buses, company shuttle vehicles, unmarked vehicles of media practitioners, emergency care vehicles that are used by doctors, vehicles used by persons with disability, vehicles for perishable goods, and tourism vehicles.
The extended no-window coding policy was implemented starting November 1 on EDSA, C5, Roxas Boulevard, and Alabang-Zapote Road, and in Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, and Makati.
The no-window scheme will be in effect until January 31.