The worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila has prompted certain local government units and the national government to implement their own respective plans to help relieve the public of the daily drudge in the commute between the house and the workplace.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has tried various programs to ease the flow of traffic, but the current Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (number-coding scheme) has been in place since 1996. If you’re either a balikbayan who hasn’t been to the Philippines in decades, or a recently released parolee from the National Penitentiary who will no longer be seeing Herbert Colangco’s concerts, this is likely how you understand the UVVRP: From 7am to 7pm on all streets within Metro Manila, private and public utility vehicles are banned depending on the last digit of their license plates. Those ending in 1 and 2 are banned on Mondays; 3 and 4 on Tuesdays; 5 and 6 on Wednesdays; 7 and 8 on Thursdays; and 9 and 0 on Fridays. You also know that the so-called “window period” allows banned cars to be used from 10am to 3pm, save for the cities of Makati and Las Piñas. Fortunately, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are not covered by the scheme throughout Metro Manila, which would explain the horrendous traffic these days even on weekends since the streets basically become a free-for-all among NCR motorists.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. Due to the horrific traffic congestion we’re now experiencing, Metro Manila’s traffic-management scheme needs a new round of tweaking. Here, we’ve compiled said updates—specifically, the updated number-coding program of the MMDA starting yesterday, October 17, and the odd-even system on certain roads in Pasig City since September 1.
By the MMDA
The window hours of 10am to 3pm are no longer honored on EDSA, C-5 Circumferential Road, Alabang-Zapote Road and Roxas Boulevard, which means vehicles affected by the number-coding scheme are prohibited from traversing these thoroughfares from 7am to 7pm straight.
In addition, Mandaluyong has joined Makati and Las Piñas in implementing a city-wide restriction of no-window hours, which thus strictly bans vehicles affected by the number-coding scheme from 7am to 7pm.
By the Pasig City government
Pasig City’s odd-even scheme is radical since motorists passing through are now expected to follow not just the revised number-coding scheme of the MMDA, but also the odd-even system of the local government for certain roads:
• Elisco Road (westbound);
• R. Jabson Street (northbound);
• San Guillermo Street (eastbound);
• Sandoval Avenue (northbound);
• Intersection of Elisco Road, M. Concepcion Street and R. Jabon Street; and
• Greenwoods Avenue, from Barkadahan Bridge to East Bank Road, to Oritgas Avenue.
According to the Pasig City government, vehicles with license plates that end in even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8 and 0) are prohibited from using these roads on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those that end in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9) are banned on the same streets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. What makes it even worse is that not only are some vehicles banned on weekends, there are also no window hours.
Now, this is controversial since it’s unfair to some parties. As a matter of fact, if you plot both the MMDA’s number-coding scheme and Pasig City’s odd-even program on a chart as one concerned individual has done on Facebook, cars with license plates that end in 1, 5 and 9 are the most affected since they’re prohibited for five days—four due to the odd-even scheme and one because of the number-coding program. Meanwhile, vehicles with plates that end in 2, 6 and 0 are the least affected since they’re only banned for three days—two for the odd-even scheme and one for the number-coding program.
So if you happen to live in Pasig City and you’re planning to buy a “coding” car, pray for a license plate that ends in 2, 6 or 0, or you’d be better off telecommuting or working from home instead.