Carpooling has long been done to save on gas and to help Mother Earth by reducing vehicular volume less and therefore lowering emissions. In the US, the government has given incentives and benefits to people who carpool, like having a dedicated lane, parking perks, and more.
Locally, we may soon have our version with a proposed bill by Rep. Edwin Olivares. House Bill 143 or the Carpool Incentives bill has been passed and is awaiting approval. With the aim to ease up traffic and lower emissions, the bill cites that 2.4 million vehicles pass through EDSA alone, and the bill hopes to bring that number optimistically down to a million.
Carpooling is defined by the bill as at least four people sharing a vehicle to get from point A to point B, this includes the driver. The bill states also that all of the four passengers should be licensed drivers and have their licenses with them. The carpool act suggests giving benefits to the driver of the vehicle when it comes to parking and discounts on gas and toll.
The bill stipulates that carpooling vehicles will be given free parking in any establishment run by or is under contract with the government. The bill also proposes to give a 50% discount on parking run by private institutions. There will also be a 20% discount when it comes to toll fees as well. There is also a proposed 20% discount on gasoline and petroleum products. The discounts will only be applied if all four passengers (including the driver) are able to present their driver's licenses. Carpooling vehicles will also be exempted from the MMDA or any local government unit (LGU) color-coding scheme.
As this is a rehashed version of an old bill, the copy submitted to the House indicates that the now-defunct DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) will take charge of its implementation. At the present, we would assume that the task will now fall in the hands of the DOTr (Department of Transportation), which will coordinate with other agencies like the LTO, Toll regulatory board, DILG, DOE, and MMDA for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
Enforcers accepting bribes and caught soliciting payments from the passengers will be fined 50,000 to 100,000 PHP and may even serve a two-year jail term.
With traffic again on the rise as people are coming out of lockdown to work and go to school, we hope this bill is approved and implemented with immediate effect to lessen the volume of vehicles in the metro, free up the roads, reduce our carbon footprint, and lower emissions.