Ever since pandemic restrictions in Metro Manila were relaxed a few weeks ago, more and more people are starting to go out. As a result, there are more vehicles on the road and traffic levels are returning to almost pre-pandemic levels.

Seeing that the number of motorists has increased as of late, the MMDA announced several weeks ago that they are considering the return of the number coding scheme, or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP). At the time of their announcement, the MMDA said the coding scheme could be implemented from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM during weekdays.

Two weeks since the MMDA made the initial announcement, and MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos recently made a new announcement regarding the possible return of the number coding scheme. According to a report, Abalos said that he will be recommending that the number coding scheme be implemented during afternoon rush hour – between the hours of 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

“This week I'm going to present to the mayors the study of our Technical Traffic Division recommending na gawin muna nating hapon [ang number-coding], subukan natin,” said Abalos.

[This week I'm going to present to the mayors the study of our Technical Traffic Division recommending that we do [the number-coding] in the afternoon, let's try it]

Abalos said that he will be recommending it because the agency has to present it to the Metro Manila Council which is comprised of the mayors of the 16 cities and 1 municipality in the National Capital Region. If they council agrees, then they will implement. 

Abalos added that the scheme will initially cover private vehicles only. Public transportation vehicles, as well as medical frontliners, will be exempted from the return of the number coding scheme.

Based on the MMDA's traffic data, the average number of vehicles traveling in Metro Manila averaged 405,000 vehicles as of January 2020, right before the pandemic hit. Recently, however, the average has reached 403,000 vehicles. With that kind of figure, it's no surprise the MMDA is looking at reimplementing a modified coding scheme. 

Do you think the number coding scheme should be reimplemented as the holiday rush draws near? Or should the MMDA and Metro Manila council find new ways to better manage traffic in the metro, as well as on EDSA?