Plenty of motorists have always rued the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), more popularly known as "Number Coding”. As a means to reduce the number of vehicles on Metro Manila roads, vehicles with specified plate number endings are not allowed to use their cars on certain days.

It has been modified several times and currently, “coded” cars cannot be used only between 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM, except in Makati which has since reinstated the 7:00 AM- 7:00 PM coding hours. Nonetheless, this was welcomed by a lot of us.

How long will this reprieve last? According to MMDA Chairman Romando Artes, they do not see a need to expand coding to its original scheme. This comes after Metro Manila has been placed under the most lenient Alert Level 1. What led to this decision?

Level 1 started on the 1st of March. According to MMDA, they observed fewer vehicles plying EDSA compared to when Level 2 was in place. To quantify, there was an estimated 367,535 vehicles on day 1 of Level 1 compared to the recorded 372,528 vehicles on the implementation of Level 2. Despite the lower volume, the average speed on the main thoroughfare was still a stately 20 km/h, with most congestion noted to be between 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

MMDA: No need for expanded number coding yet image

“Traffic is concentrated during these hours. The time stuck in traffic is just short. It eases immediately. This is why we are not seeing any reason to expand the number coding scheme,” said Artes.

These findings, along with the continuing increase in the price of petroleum products, are what the MMDA sees to be contributing factors to the reduced number of vehicles on the roads daily.

Many argue that the coding scheme never worked, or that it only led to those who can afford to do so to buy another “coding” car; this effectively renders the program inert. But as we speak, we cannot deny that there has indeed been a reduction in traffic. We’re not saying that we’ve gotten rid of it because of the absence of coding or because of the pandemic. But whatever reason it is, every minute we save traveling to and from our destinations plus every chance we get to get the most of our full tanks are always welcome changes.

Do you think the current implementation of coding works? Should it be modified further? Or do you think the original scheme can and will result in less traffic? For now, let’s make the most of the traffic situation while we can.